With local gas prices hovering near $4 per gallon, Chester Police Chief Mike Brown asked his officers to ride bicycles or walk.
He was trying to save money wherever he could, and that meant occasionally shutting off engines.
Other area police departments have made similar adjustments as they grapple with skyrocketing fuel costs. Some agencies are rewriting driving policies. Others are placing two officers in one patrol car.
But perhaps the most drastic move has been in Chester, where Brown convinced city leaders this week to buy a $6,800 golf cart. He hopes the new black and tan E-Z-GO will help the department build better community relations.
But he also wants to conserve gasoline.
Brown expects the cart to get at least 45 miles per gallon. Last week, his department borrowed a cart for a test run. A fill-up was $13, good mileage considering he usually spends about $100 per day fueling a patrol car.
And what should happen if a suspect drives away from a set of wheels that might top out at 35 mph?
A patrol car will be on the way.
"They can't outrun a radio," Brown said.
Here's a look at what some other local departments are doing:
Rock Hill Police Department
Years ago, Rock Hill police officers carried two sets of keys. When the blistering heat of summer arrived, they'd leave their patrol cars running while they stepped out to handle calls. Not anymore. Unless a vehicle's blue lights are flashing, no idling is allowed.
Officers also are being told to fill up their cars with E-85 (a blended fuel that's 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline) if their vehicles are capable of burning that fuel. They're carpooling to training assignments and have been asked to drive more carefully.
"We want them to drive, when they're on patrol, just like normal driving," Capt. Mark Bollinger said. "Eliminate jack-rabbit stops, accelerate slowly. Just drive ... like they'd be driving their family car."
Last week, City Manager Carey Smith set up a committee to look at how city departments can conserve fuel.
"We're not to the point of cutting out any police services," Bollinger said. "We don't want to do any knee-jerk reactions. But we are still providing the same level of service that we always have."
York County Sheriff's Office
Several weeks ago, strict orders were issued throughout the department that no unnecessary driving would be permitted.
Traditionally, deputies have been allowed to drive their patrol cars when they're offduty, as long as they're armed and prepared to respond to a call. The idea is that a greater police presence will deter crime.
But that driving now is prohibited.
"It's kind of a Catch-22," Capt. Allen Brandon said. "Which is the worse of two evils? Are you saving gas money, or are there more victims?"
Fort Mill Police Department
During the agency's slower times, officers are riding two to a car. When the heat is intense, they're shutting off those hard-working airconditioners and walking into local businesses, talking to residents and listening to their concerns.
"Our officers already do a really good job of that," Fort Mill Police Chief Jeff Helms said of community interaction. "I get (positive) calls from merchants and e-mails from business owners."
York Police Department
York Police Chief Bill Mobley said he's asked officers to get out of their cars and walk as much as possible. But this time of year, the number of calls for police increases.
"It's hard for the officers to get out and walk," Mobley said. "Once you park the car, the next thing you know, you got a wreck, you got a call somewhere else."
Mobley said he doesn't double-up officers in one car because that cuts the patrol in half. But he has instructed his staff not to let vehicles run idly, such as when officers are working crime scenes.
"We're trying to conserve (gasoline) as much as we possibly can," he said.
Chester County Sheriff's Office
Like in Fort Mill, Chester County deputies are doubling up to conserve gasoline. But because of the size of the agency's jurisdiction, walking isn't an option.
"A lot of times, we only have three or four cars on the road on a shift anyway," Chester County Sheriff Robby Benson said. "So it all depends. If it's real busy, we just have to keep them in their cars and respond to calls. If it slows down, we're having to double up to patrol the area. ... There's not much more we can do right now."