Although it’s that time of year when people are heavily focused on giving and sharing holiday cheer, I just saw a heartwarming story about a unique gift to the Gates Mills, Ohio police department that was provided in July 2021. (I guess we can say it was Christmas in July.) Sawyer Merritt shared the tweet and I thought it would be a good story to share — even if we are six months late.
NEWS: Man donates 2019 Tesla Model S patrol car to Ohio police department.
He also volunteered to pay for all the start-up equipment costs, like the patrol graphics and charging station, which came out to about $20,000, Minichello said.
— Sawyer Merritt 📈🚀 (@SawyerMerritt) December 8, 2021
In Ohio, one lucky police department was the recipient of a gift that will save the city thousands in the long run.
WKYC reported that the Gates Mills Police Department is shifting to electric with a donated Tesla. Police Chief Gregg Minichello had been researching electric vehicles and, unfortunately, at the time, the possibility of transitioning to a Tesla or other EV was not yet feasible for the small police department.
Community, the chief pointed out, is key to the success of his department. “We have a great working relationship with our residents. We do a lot of community service. It’s our focus, down here,” he explained.
The article noted that this was truly a unique relationship between a police force and its community. A resident brought up the idea of an electric police cruiser with Chief Minichello, which got everything rolling. He explained to WKYC:
“Were we ever going to look into possibly transitioning into a Tesla or a electric vehicle? I said we had not gotten that far, it may be something on the horizon, but we are not there yet.”
He’d been exploring electric options for the replacement for one cruiser a few years down the road, and knew that an EV would be well received in the community. “There is a lot of green space and nature lovers. You know, no emissions with this car.”
The same resident who brought up the idea of an electric police cruiser returned to the department with an offer. He wanted to donate a gently used 2019 Tesla Model S with around 7,000 miles on the odometer.
“It just got to the point that he really wanted to do something. We talked about it and he said that he was interested in donating this particular vehicle to the department.”
The donor wanted to remain anonymous. The article noted that the vehicle cost around $80,000, and that the donor is also paying for the vehicle to be retrofitted into a police car. They are also paying for an electric charging station.
Minichello admitted that he felt a bit intimidated because it was an expensive car and most of the police departments with a Tesla typically have a Model 3 or Y due to their approachable pricing and adaptability with law enforcement work.
Upon doing research on the department’s newest vehicle, Minishello touched upon some of the positive aspects of the vehicle.
“I did my research. I talked to other departments who fitted the Tesla to be a police car. I mean the most important thing for me is safety, is it practical down here, and it is. All-wheel drive vehicle, it’s safe. There are 9 cameras on there for office safety. It handles well.”
He also mentioned some of the changes that they will have to make to the car.
“Lights in the windows. Glass top roof, so we can’t put them on the roof. Put them on the back window and on the side of the car. It will be outfitted as much as we can.”
The article brought up the uniqueness of the relationship between the police department and its community and just how priceless it is.
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