Gas Prices Put Police in a Pinch - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Paragould--Tiffany Blankenship Reports

Gas Prices Put Police in a Pinch

April 14, 2005--Posted at 4:30 p.m. CDT

PARAGOULD-- Gas prices are making it a little more difficult for police officers across Arkansas to protect and serve.

Paying more at the pump is cutting into a number of law enforcement budgets.

Greene County Sheriff Dan Langston says, "The oil's there. They are pumping it everyday. Somebody's getting rich."

The Greene County Sheriff's Department travels roughly 550 thousand miles per year and averages about a thousand calls per week, but Sheriff Langston says it's all about the people they serve.

"We're at the people's mercy we have to get from point A to point B and the vehicle has to transport us there," Langston says.

And prices at the pump especially weigh on this department because of the type of vehicles they drive.

This GMC, plus a number of Dodge Durangos and Ford Explorers are vehicles that the sheriff says are most efficient for Greene County.

"A Sedan is more apt to be on black top and not on gravel roads. That's why I have a fleet of 4 wheel drive vehicles because we have to get there," Langston says.

But, of course, these vehicles might not seem quite as efficient with the spike in petro price.

At 20 miles per gallon for the Dodge and 22 miles per gallon for the Explorer, the department is pinching their pennies.

"We put a tank in the back, and we refuel out of that instead of at the pump where we have to pay pump prices," Langston says.

Sheriff Langston says buying in bulk saves the officers 3 to 4 percent on fuel, but with the prices as high as they are, it's difficult for anyone to stay ahead.

He says normally people would conserve fuel by driving less, but with the busy state of the department, they're always on the go.

"We're kind of like the postman...wind, rain, sleet, snow, dark of night, we'll be there. Lack of gas, we'll still find a way to meet our problems," Langston says.

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