Panic at the pump impacting police officers

Patrol vehicle with the Leander Police Department. (KXAN Photo)
Patrol vehicle with the Leander Police Department. (KXAN Photo)

LEANDER, Texas (KXAN) — For many police officers, their patrol cars are their office. Leander Police Sgt. Elizabeth Conrad says that means keeping her tank full, especially as the demand for gas spikes.

“I had one officer that didn’t have a full tank when he came in, and so he went to one of our local gas stations that had fuel and sat in line with everyone and waited 30 to 45 minutes,” explains Sgt. Conrad. Thankfully no emergency calls came in during the wait.

But Leander police is getting calls about problems at the pump. “They are becoming confrontational at the pumps–if someone tries to cut or someone is taking too long. People using inappropriate containers for fuel: garbage cans, 5-gallon buckets that are not safe to carry fuel in.”

With all the uncertainty, the city of Leander is stocking up. The 1,000-gallon tank that fuels public works’ vehicles is now full. On Thursday, it was half empty. Emergency responders only use that supply as a back-up.

“It is just that – an emergency supply. So if we’re able to wait in line and buy it from one of our local retailers, then that is something we’ve been instructed to try first,” says Conrad.

So don’t be surprised if you get bumped. “They are by law able to cut in line because they’re an emergency vehicle, but that is a last resort for us,” explains Sgt. Conrad.

We checked with several other police departments to see how they’re being impacted. Hutto, Georgetown and Taylor said officers haven’t experienced any issues filling up their cars.

Pflugerville said some officers had to wait in line, but it didn’t impact their operations. Austin, Cedar Park, Round Rock, and Williamson County EMS say they have their own fueling stations.

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