Bennington Police Department earns environmental leadership award
The Bennington Police Department and Chief Paul Doucette have earned the 2021 Environmental Leadership award from Climate Advocates Bennington. The Advocates recognize the department’s forward thinking and action to reduce their carbon footprint by purchasing hybrid vehicles and their growing e-bike program.
At a ceremony last month, Climate Advocates coordinator Barbara True-Weber presented the award to Doucette, and recognized others who have made these innovations possible: Lt. Cam Grande, Select Chair Jeannie Jenkins, the Bennington Energy Committee represented by Al Bashevkin and Bruce Lee-Clark, and Donald Campbell, former Select Chair.
The award recognizes work over the last two years to address the global climate crisis through local action. In the fall of 2019 the Bennington Select Board, under the leadership of Donald Campbell, appointed an Energy Committee that is pivotal to Bennington’s Energy Plan. That committee has been working to reduce carbon emissions, global warming, and save money. One of the committee’s goals entailed converting the town’s fleet of cars and trucks from gasoline to electric or hybrid power. When researching other police departments across the country, it was found that hybrid and electric vehicles performed as well or better than traditional policing vehicles. This change also saved money on fuel and repairs.
On Sept. 22, 2021, the BPD put their first hybrid patrol vehicle into service. Doucette reported that gasoline consumption for the hybrid cruiser is far less than what they experience in the existing patrol vehicles. The hybrid patrol vehicles average 23.9 miles per gallon compared to other patrol vehicles that average approximately 14.5 miles per gallon. In addition to the hybrid cars, the BPD purchased two EV bikes for its bike policing. This will further reduce the cost of gasoline, save carbon emissions, and connect police more closely with citizens.
Climate Advocates of Bennington (CAB), presenter of this award, is a node of 350VT dedicated to organizing, educating, and supporting Vermonters to work together to address the climate crisis. Locally they focus on reducing emissions, working for climate justice, and building resilience and community. They can be reached at climateadvocatesbennington. org.