The Washington County Sheriff’s Department has purchased two new river patrol boats with the help of a Congressional appropriation. The $1.6 million grant is also to buy 20 new patrol cars, which will have hybrid gas-electric motors.
Rep. Betty McCollum requested the funding from Congress’s Community Project Funding program. Each member of Congress is able to make up to 15 requests from the fund each term. She joined an event celebrating the funding on August 9 at Wolf Marine near Stillwater.
“I’m pleased to advance these community safety requests for Ramsey County and Washington County,” McCollum said. “Working together on the federal and county levels, these projects will help keep people safe and supported, and reduce our environmental impact – benefiting all of us and having a positive impact in our Fourth District communities.”
Sheriff Dan Starry said the new vehicles will have multiple benefits for a department in which deputies drive more than 2 million miles a year, and a fleet of more than 150 kinds of vehicles.
“This project would allow the sheriff’s office to invest in the latest hybrid vehicle technology to help reduce the fuel consumption and the impact the fleet has on the environment,” Starry said.
The new patrol cars will be Ford Interceptor Hybrids, which Ford calls the “first-ever pursuit-rated hybrid police SUV.” The company points out that the better gas mileage also means fewer fill-ups and downtime while at the pump, and is better suited to police use featuring a lot of time spent idling the engine.
The boats purchased with the funding will not only serve on the St. Croix, but also the county’s stretch of the Mississippi. They will also be available to support other nearby needs.
“The size of the vessels that operate on these waterways and the large geographical area that they cover require a robust and safe watercraft to perform the necessary public safety services, including safety patrols, search and rescue, critical infrastructure protection, such as bridges, dams and refinery, and responding to emergencies,” McCollum wrote in her request for the funding.
“Water recreation is a growing component of our lives, and we at the county want to do everything we can to keep residents safe while they are on county water,” said County Commissioner and Board Chair Wayne Johnson.