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The New Recruits: In-Service Cop Cars

The next era of patrol cars has begun, as agencies start buying replacements for Ford's now-defunct Crown Vic.

August 06, 2012  |  by - Also by this author

The Marion County (Fla.) Sheriff's Office's Ford Police Interceptor sedan. Photo: MCSO
The Marion County (Fla.) Sheriff's Office's Ford Police Interceptor sedan. Photo: MCSO

While some agencies prioritize performance, others say fuel economy drove their purchase decision. The Marion County (Fla.) Sheriff's Office says that's one of the primary reasons that it chose to purchase 36 Ford Police Interceptor sedans with 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engines and all-wheel drive. The sheriff’s office will receive four to five new Ford P.I. sedans each week to replace its aging Ford CVPIs.

"Although this engine boasts 365 horsepower, it is estimated to provide at least a 20% increase in our current fuel mileage," says Judge Cochran, the MCSO public information officer.

Cochran explains that this improved fuel economy could save the agency $500,000 a year once the entire fleet is upgraded to the new models. The county will equip the new vehicles with radios, computers, graphics, and other police equipment.

"While being able to keep all of the options that are available on the current Crown Victoria Interceptor models, the committee decided to add a few more options that are now available with the new Police Interceptors," Cochran says. "One option is a driver-side ballistic door panel. Another option ordered with the new vehicles is back-up sensors that will warn officers when they are near anything when the vehicle is in reverse."

Before committing to the purchase, the sheriff’s office tested the Ford models at a road course in Orlando in December.

"A SWAT member drove his current patrol vehicle and was able to fit all of his patrol and SWAT equipment in the new sedan with space to spare," Cochran says. "The vehicle they picked as the best for handling and performance was the Police Interceptor sedan. It was described as being a 'game-changer' by one of the deputies."

To pay for the vehicles, the County Commission earmarked $442,000 to replace patrol vehicles in the 2009-2010 fiscal year. For the 2010-2011 fiscal year, the sheriff received approval that returned funds, $2.15 million in the MSTU (Municipal Service Taxing Unit) budget and $702,515 in county-wide funds, would be earmarked for replacement vehicles. The $442,000 went to pay for 14 Ford P.I. sedans and two Ford P.I. Utility models. One of each vehicle type will be used for the sheriff's K-9 unit.

Other agencies planning to use the Ford P.I. sedan include the Chicago Police Department, Des Moines (Iowa) Police Department, New York Police DepartmentVirginia State Police, and Wisconsin State Patrol.

The Ford P.I. Utility's increased payload, 75-mph rear-crash rating, and lower-slung car platform have attracted plenty of state police agencies, including the Massachusetts State Police. The MSP, which was one of the first agencies nationwide to adopt Ford’s P.I. Utility, has issued several of the vehicles to troopers and plans to use it as the primary enforcement vehicle in a current fleet of 1,800 marked units.

"The rear-end crash rating is very important to us," says Sgt. Mark Caron, the MSP's fleet administrator. "We do have a lot of rear-end hits. That crash test makes us feel very comfortable."

Massachusetts troopers will be issued the all-wheel-drive Utility to replace the rear-wheel Ford CVPIs. The reason administration chose all-wheel drive is easy to understand: snow. The all-wheel drive will assist troopers in exiting highway off-ramps and cornering especially on the hilly roads in the western part of the state, Sgt. Caron says.

The agency chose the Utility over Ford's P.I. sedan mostly for its increased interior space, especially for transporting prisoners. So far, the Utility has been a hit with the troopers who drive it.

"They love it," Sgt. Caron says. "They like the handling capability, the cornering, the acceleration, and the space. You sit a little bit higher, so you get a little bit better field of vision."

The agency agreed to purchase the Ford P.I. Utility for about $30,000 per vehicle, and can also add sedans for about $28,000 under the agreed-upon contract. The vehicles are painted in the agency’s blue-and-and gray color scheme. The agency then equips the vehicles with a lightbar, cage, and consoles for the police equipment.

Due to budget constraints, Sgt. Caron is now replacing 15% to 20% of his fleet each year. Police fleet managers strive to replace a third of their fleet annually.

Other agencies that have chosen the Ford P.I. Utility include the California Highway Patrol, Collin County (Texas) Police Department, Pennsylvania State Police, and Texas DPS.

Greg Basich contributed to this article. Greg is the Web editor for POLICE Magazine's sister publication Government Fleet.

Related:

PHOTOS: In-Service Cop Cars

Keeping the Crown Vic

«   Page 2 of 2   »

Tags: Dodge Charger, Ford Police Interceptor, Chevrolet Caprice, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Marion County (Fla.) Sheriff, Georgia, Massachusetts State Police, Managing a Police Fleet, Belvidere (Ill.) PD


Comments (5)

Displaying 1 - 5 of 5

Sean @ 8/17/2012 7:43 AM

We just got the new Ford PI. Looks nice but the door is a small opening to get out of for taller or wider cops. The trunk also has an over-kill of foam for the spare tire. We just cut out the foam we didn't need.

abe2571 @ 11/8/2012 4:14 AM

First let me say these new cars have been a long time coming. It's about time we get some modern police cars. Whatever you brand preference is I'm sure most of you will like it. For the agency I work for we went with the Ford sedan with AWD and Ecoboost. Time will tell with the durability but it has been well like by most who are driving them. Not quite are room as the vics for the bigger folks so we ordered some of the Explorers too with AWD. Because we have many sandy forest road the AWD was a big factor in the decision process and have been complimented many times by the drivers. Performance and handling have been great. Overall they have been well accepted with few gripes and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them. No vehicle is perfect though. Enjoy the new crop of police vehicles whatever you choice is.

Ima Leprechaun @ 6/15/2013 5:31 AM

Nice to see the flying dougnut again, it makes me homesick.

Ima Leprechaun @ 6/15/2013 5:43 AM

My favorite Police Car of all time was the 1975 Chevy Impala. Great room, perfect pursuit brakes, easy to drive, very fast, great turning radius and a huge trunk. But those cars are gone now. It had no computer, it was tough as a tank and still carried the 350 V8 with a heavy duty transmission and sway bars. This car never failed me in any situation. It handled great on snow and ice and drove like it was glued to the road. It had plenty of interior room from all my stuff, the radio gear, the radar and tough seats with back support. It had a large back seat to keep prisoners in without putting their knees in their nose and it had a great 360 degree visablity for the driver. Those days are gone now though and every choice today is a compromise of some kind.

Ima Leprechaun @ 6/15/2013 5:45 AM

Sorry missed the "h" in doughnut.

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