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Bismarck police testing hybrid squad cars

Bismarck police testing hybrid squad cars

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The Bismarck Police Department has added two hybrid squad cars to its fleet. The vehicles are equipped with license plate reader technology, which will give officers access to information from a national database of stolen goods and vehicles, missing persons and runaway children.

Two new squad cars in the Bismarck Police Department fleet are equipped with license plate reader technology and also are part of a test program to see if hybrid vehicles can reduce the department’s fuel costs.

“While the squad cars cost more upfront, we are anticipating cost savings over the life of the vehicle, which in turn would assist the taxpayers,” Police Chief Dave Draovitch said.

The license plate reading technology checks the information against "hotlists" of wanted vehicles and the National Crime Information Center database for stolen goods and vehicles, missing persons and runaway children. The technology also is an investigative tool used for locating vehicles involved in criminal activity and helping document crime scenes, the department said.

“As criminals use technology to their advantage, we must do the same,” Draovitch said.

The hybrid SUVs cost about $36,000, which is $3,000 more than a regular squad car. Each license plate reader system cost $24,500, the department said.

The four-wheel-drive vehicles were put into service Friday.

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