Coping with gas prices

By David Tomas

With the rise in gas prices, law enforcement agencies are taking steps to find solutions.

“We’re trying to manage as well as we can,” said DeKalb Fire Chief Lanny Russell.

The DeKalb Police Department had to increase its fuel budget for this fiscal year, Sgt. Jason Leverton said.

“We get money from other departments that don’t have budget problems,” he said.

Each patrol car uses an average of 200 to 386 gallons of gas each month. At the current price of $3.09 per gallon, the DeKalb Police Department uses about $13,200 to fuel its 11 fully-marked patrol cars on a monthly basis.

Other gas guzzlers include ambulances and fire engines, which take up to 30 gallons of diesel fuel per tank and 50 gallons per tank, respectively, Russell said.

Despite higher gas prices, there is no immediate plan to acquire hybrid cars, Leverton said. However, there are six officers patrolling on bicycles and one on motorcycle, as well as several foot patrol officers.

Despite money problems, the number of patrol officers will not be reduced for safety reasons, Leverton said.

Other departments’ budgets have not suffered as much with recent price increases.

“We lease our patrolling vehicles through the NIU Department of Transportation,” said University Police Lt. Matthew Kiederlen.

There has not been an increase in the lease amount, he said.

Hybrid cars have been an advantage to the University Police, he said.

“We pay 34 cents per mile for a Toyota Prius as opposed to 42 cents for a Ford Crown Victoria,” Kiederlen said.

When driving a car around 1,500 miles every month, the price difference is very noticeable, he said.

Some students are pleased with the acquisition of hybrid cars by the UP.

Every dollar NIU saves will help tuition stay the way it is, and maybe it will even go down, said Jim Meyer, a junior liberal studies major.

“I’m glad they’re spending our tuition [money] wisely,” he said.