As gasoline prices soar, police chiefs across the country are ordering officers out of the car and onto their feet, reports the New York Times. “It's changing the way we police,” said Chief Mike Jones of the Suwanee, Ga., Police Department, who has asked his officers to walk for at least one hour of every shift. “We're going to have to police smarter than we have in the past.” Jones budgeted about $60,000 for fuel last fiscal year; the department spent $94,000. This year, he budgeted $163,000.
The Houston Police Department exceeded its gasoline budget of $8.7 million last year and expects to spend $11.3 million this year. San Diego expects to exceed its annual budget by $1.5 million. Departments have switched to lower octane gasoline and installed G.P.S. receivers in patrol cars to make dispatching more efficient. State troopers have gone from cruising highways to sitting and monitoring traffic in “stationary patrols.” In Cook County, Ill., sheriff's deputies have mothballed their cars in favor of bicycles. And the New York City Police Department acquired 20 hybrid cars this month. But one of the most popular fuel conservation measures has been the simplest: walking. Or as Chief Frank Hooper of Gainesville, Ga., put it in a memorandum, “walk and talk.”