Westport Police Department in Connecticut found that it could save money by using the Tesla Sentry Mode on its new Model 3 electric police cruisers instead of adding cameras, according to a report by Electrek.
Last year, the police department purchased a Tesla Model 3 to use as its police patrol vehicle. They predict $13,770 in fuel savings in the first three years with these electric vehicles, says the report.
The police department then talked with Tesla about implementing the Sentry Mode feature, which is powered by Autopilot cameras.
Sentry mode has assisted police with video evidence to help them find criminals, but this is the first time that a police department would use the mode directly, according to the report.
“Every Tesla comes straight from the factory with many features installed in the car – like its front, side, and rearview cameras – that a police department would typically need to install at extra cost,” said the Westport Police Department. “These cameras can also be used in ‘Sentry mode’ to monitor the vehicle and vicinity when the vehicle is parked.”
Now the Model 3 cruiser is going into operation in Connecticut and using Sentry Mode for police work, says the report. Westport is also communicating with Tesla to potentially utilize the onboard computer and screen to run its police program, but that hasn’t been implemented at this point.
“With Tesla’s cooperation, the police are using the Sentry cameras that come with the Tesla, meaning that they will be spared the approximately $3,000 expense that is normally incurred to add this to a police cruiser,” the Westport Police Department told a local electric vehicle club.
Currently, around a dozen police departments are opting for Tesla vehicles, according to the report.