Real world example: Reducing engine idling for police departments

Policy is just a piece of paper unless it gets buy-in from all parties and is actively enforced, so use this example as a starting place for your fleet. Each company’s operation is unique to them, but many of the following policy pieces can be implemented in one form or another to help reduce fuel waste in your fleet.



A. Air pollution is a major public health concern in Northeastern Illinois. The six county Chicago region is currently designated as non-attainment for the one-hour Federal ozone standard. Air pollution can cause or aggravate lung illnesses such as acute respiratory infections, asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and lung cancer. In addition to health impacts, air pollution imposes significant economic costs and negative impacts on our quality of life (nuisance).

B. Exhaust from vehicles (both on- and off-road) is a substantive source of ozone precursors in the six county Chicago region. Vehicle exhaust is also a source of carbon monoxide, particulate matter, toxic air contaminants, and greenhouse gases. Although new engines have become leaner due to improved emission control technologies, the slow turn over in their inventory and the number of miles/hours these vehicles idle each year is hindering progress in improving regional air quality.

C. Public agencies can play an important role in improving air quality by limiting the amount of time engines are allowed to idle within their jurisdiction. Public agencies have the responsibility to lead the effort to improve air quality by adopting ordinances that are cost effective in reducing ozone precursor emissions and toxic air contaminants.

D. The City of Wood Dale created the Wood Dale Clean Air Counts Committee whose purpose is to promulgate initiatives designed to lessen air pollution emissions from the city proper.

E. The Wood Dale Police Department will assist in this endeavor by adopting this Vehicle Anti-Idling Policy.


A. This operating procedure establishes a prohibition on the idling of police department owned vehicles when the vehicle is not moving or when the vehicles are not performing work for a period of time greater than five minutes in any one-hour period.

B. It will no longer be acceptable to leave a police department owned vehicle idling, (running), under the following conditions:

  1. When the vehicle is parked in and around the police station;
  2. When the vehicle is parked at a location during a call for service;
  3. When the vehicle is parked at a place of business during a break; and 
  4. When the vehicle is parked during the running of radar at a set location.

It is understood that an emergency call for service may supersede this policy when time and necessity may be critical. Also, during times of extreme weather conditions; it may be essential to leave the vehicle running, (for the K-9 or arrestees kept in a squad). All incidents in violation of this standard operating procedure will be observed on a case by case basis.


Police Department owned vehicles should never be left running longer than five minutes when stationary. Employees are ordered to turn off their engines when the vehicles are parked instead of idling.