Cayce Police SC’s First Department With an E-Car

Posted 10/11/22

The Cayce Police Department has a new ride that sets them apart from their S.C. peers.

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Cayce Police SC’s First Department With an E-Car


The Cayce Police Department has a new ride that sets them apart from their S.C. peers.

The department announced Oct. 7 that it was given a 2021 Tesla Model 3, which will take the road as the first e-car deployed by a Palmetto State police department, Chief Chris Cowan said at a press conference.

The car, bedecked in blue and white with a splash of green to highlight its eco-friendly method of propulsion, rolled out of the garage doors at the Lexington 2 Innovation Center, the school where it and its driver, Public Affairs Officer Lt. Danielle McCord, will be stationed.

“The innovation that you see there behind you in that vehicle is not new,” Cowan said. “It’s not something that’s new to this country, and there are multiple police departments around this country that are deploying them, but in South Carolina, we are the first agency to deploy this technology.”

The chief said that community outreach will be the primary emphasis with the new vehicle, as it is already with McCord’s position.

“We want to reach a different section of the community,” Cowan said, comparing the car to efforts such as the implementation of a therapy dog, placing resource officers in local schools, Coffee With a Cop events and the department’s Five O Fade Fridays, which finds officers getting haircuts at various local establishments.

Keeping up with technology and cutting costs is another advantage of adding this e-car and more in the future, the chief explained.

“There are agencies in this country that are saving millions of dollars by deploying the vehicles in annual maintenance costs and long-term fuel efficiency costs and in costs associated with vehicle chases,” he said.

Because vehicles such as the department’s Tesla actually have better acceleration than gas-powered patrol cars and are able to stay out on the road longer, Cowan explained, they have better response times, which helps reduce the number of chases.

The Chronicle took a ride in the car with Lt. McCord, who commented on the strength of its acceleration. And, indeed, the vehicle took off quite quickly and smoothly.

Cowan said most agencies deploying e-vehicles save an average of $6,000 by doing so due to reduced gas and maintenance costs.

The savings will be heightened for Cayce, as it incurred no costs to get the vehicle on the road. The car and design wrap were donated by Cayce businesses, 212 Motors and Signarama, respectively, and Lexington County School District 2 already has a charging station at the Innovation Center. 

The average cost for the department to deploy a vehicle is $50,000, the chief said.

“This vehicle cost us nothing. Absolutely nothing. It’s exciting,” Cowan said, thanking the two businesses.

Cayce Mayor Elise Partin said that it’s important for the city, through efforts such as the new e-car, to show its commitment to protecting the environment and to instill trust between police and the communities they serve.

“If we can get kids to connect more and more and more and know that our officers are great people, that they care, that they are there when they need help, you know, that just keeps making a long term impact,” she said.

The car’s driver is remarkable for more than piloting the state’s first electronic police car. McCord is the first female lieutenant in the history of the Cayce Police Department, and she was recently awarded the Order of the Palmetto, the highest civilian honor awarded by the governor of South Carolina.

She spoke with excitement about the attention the Tesla will bring and how it will help her continue to showcase policing as a potential career for women..

“It’s just building this up, letting other females know that they too can do this,” she said. “It’s not just a man’s profession. You gotta get your face out there. You’ve got to do a good job, and you’ve got to be invested in what you do.”

cayce police e car, midlands cop tesla, mayor elise partin, chief chris cowan


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