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Man donates Tesla patrol car to Ohio police department

“It’s just real enjoyable to have people like that in your community, I can’t stress that enough,” said Chief Gregg Minichello

tesla Gates Mills Police Department

Gates Mills Police Department

By Suzie Ziegler

GATES MILLS, Ohio — Gates Mills, Ohio, is a small town with a big heart and now, also, a Tesla.

“We have a great working relationship with our residents. We do a lot of community service. It’s our focus, down here,” Police Chief Gregg Minichello told WKYC.

That relationship became evident when a resident offered to donate a Tesla to the department’s patrol fleet.

According to Minichello, the anonymous donor had earlier this year asked Minichello if he had ever considered a Tesla police car.

“At that time, I had responded it was something that I was going to research this year because I knew a green vehicle would be very well received in our community,” Minichello told Police1.

But the police chief didn’t have to wait long.

The donor, who Minichello described as a generous law enforcement supporter and Tesla enthusiast, came back with another offer. The man said he wanted to donate a “gently used” 2019 Tesla Model S, according to WKYC. He also volunteered to pay for all the start-up equipment costs, like the patrol graphics and charging station, which came out to about $20,000, Minichello said.

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Minichello didn’t say how much the car cost, but a new 2019 Model S is about $80,000.

The city council accepted the donation in May, and the Tesla officially hit the streets last month.

“I did my research. I talked to other departments who fitted the Tesla to be a police car,” Minichello told WKYC. “I mean the most important thing for me is safety, is it practical down here, and it is. All-wheel drive vehicle, it’s safe. There are nine cameras on there for office safety. It handles well.”

According to Minichello, the donor is excited to see if the conversion to a patrol car will be practical.

“This is just something he wanted to do,” Minichello said. “It’s just real enjoyable to have people like that in your community, I can’t stress that enough.”

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Minichello anticipates lower maintenance costs but he says it’s too early to tell. The Model S gets 325 miles and takes about two hours to get to full charge. Minichello says that’s more than enough for two consecutive patrol shifts in Gates Mills – a town of about 9 square miles.

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