Deputies, shut off your engines - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Deputies, shut off your engines

When Deputy John Nelson starts his shift at The Dane County Sheriff Department's Southeast Precinct, it could mean responding to calls any where in the county.

"When I was working third shift, the most I'd put on a car would be 200 miles on an 8 hour shift," Nelson says.

And that 200 mile adventure eats up a lot of gas.

"On a typical shift you are going to put on anywhere from 8 to 12 gallons," says Nelson.

For regular folks that would mean around $47.00 a day.

"We've sent out a memo to all of our deputies when they are in situations where they can turn the vehicle off- that they turn off the vehicle to save on gas," says Dane County Sheriff's Department Spokesperson Elise Schaffer.

Deputy Nelson says he'll turn off the engine when he can, like when he's parked on the side of the road looking for speeding cars.

But there are times, Nelson says he has to keep it idling.

"We have a lot of equipment, our sirens and there are times that a vehicle not running could put a strain on our batteries."

We spotted two police officers in Downtown Madison both their cars were running.

The officers say they need the engine running in order to run their equipment.

Still, police officials tell us they off set the high prices by having some officers patrol by bike or on foot.

The state patrol is also doing their part to cut down on gas consumption.

Troopers are told to slow down and work in teams instead of driving alone.

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