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USA: IMPD trying to find the best use for all-electric car

Sgt. Mark Dorsey’s patrol car drew stares and finger-pointing Wednesday when he pulled into a restaurant parking lot near 38th and Illinois streets.

“Look at that car,” said Mischa Bennett, 45, who lives in the neighborhood. “That ain’t even right.”

Dorsey, a 26-year police veteran, was driving perhaps the most distinct — and certainly the tiniest — car in the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department fleet.

It’s a 2011 Think City, an all-electric vehicle not much bigger than a golf cart.

“You should put a rookie in that car,” Bennett told Dorsey. “You deserve something more old-school like one of those nice Dodge Chargers.”

Dorsey just smiled. He’s used to the mixed receptions given the car, which bears IMPD insignias.

The car came to IMPD as a gift last fall from Elkhart-based Think North America, maker of the electric vehicles. The company, which ceased production amid bankruptcy, donated five vehicles to Indianapolis, five to Evansville and five to Fort Wayne after its last production run.

Indianapolis’ other four Think cars are divided between two other agencies — Indy Parks and the Department of Public Works. Parks officials are using the cars for food deliveries this summer, said Parks Director John Williams, and the Public Works cars are shared by administrators for commuting between Downtown offices and other Public Works facilities.

IMPD has tried using the Think Car for patrolling the Monon Trail and investigating suspicious activities in neighborhoods, said Lt. Michael McClary, who oversees IMPD’s fleet of 2,200 vehicles. Dorsey is using the car in his role as supervisor of neighborhood resource officers in IMPD’s North District.

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