By on August 21, 2013

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As police departments across the United States start retiring their Ford Crown Victoria P71 Police Interceptors, now that those out of production vehicles are reaching departments’ mileage limits, it looks like they are replacing at least some of them with SUVs, not sedans. Though the end of the Crown Vic has been mourned by law enforcement officers and car enthusiasts alike, both groups looked forward to the new police package sedans being offered by the domestic automakers. Ford brought out the SHO Taurus based Police Interceptor sedan to replace the Crown Victoria, General Motors is importing a police only Caprice PPV with rear wheel drive from Australia (while continuing to offer a police package for the FWD Impala) and Chrysler sells pursuit Chargers. Police department purchasing officials, though, are apparently opting to buy SUVs instead of the new cop cars.

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The influential California Highway Patrol has added SUVs to their fleet, replacing some sedans, and the Nevada Highway Patrol is predicted to do likewise. Jonathan Honeycutt, Ford’s fleet brand marketing manager said that it’s not a fad, “This is where the industry is moving.” Demand from government agencies for police package SUVs has been growing faster than for sedans. Officers like the additional room that utility vehicles generally have, compared to sedans. As electronic equipment installed in police cars has proliferated, space has become an issue for police officers, who also have to wear a lot of gear on their persons.

When Ford replaced the Crown Vic PI with the Taurus based Police Interceptor, they also made a PI package available on the FWD based Explorer, expecting the SUV to account for 30% of police fleet sales. In recent months, though, the numbers have flipped and the Explorer PIs are currently almost 70% of the mix. For the year, the police Explorer is outselling the police Taurus, 7,288 to 6,046.

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In addition to the Caprice and Impala sedans, GM offers a police package on the Tahoe SUV and a GM spokesman told the Detroit News that it expects to sell more Tahoes than the 13,000 the automaker sold last year. Chrysler offers the Durango SUV as an alternative to police forces as well as a special service package Ram pickup but it hasn’t released sales figures yet. Ford released their police fleet sales in connection with their announcement that police fleets can now order their Interceptor SUVs with the 3.5 liter EcoBoost V6 engine. That option is expected to boost Explorer Police Interceptor sales even greater. While LEOs may appreciate the extra room, those responsible for purchasing decisions will appreciate better gas mileage.

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101 Comments on “That Police Car In Your Mirror May Not Be A Car, Police Package SUV Sales Up...”


  • avatar

    I hate the fact that everytime I see a Panther platform or a Charger doing the speed limit, I have to slow down to check the driver before I can blow by them.

    I know there are Chargers with one side painted “POLICE” and the other plain, so they can conceal themselves on the highway. I haven’t gotten caught by one and I haven’t seen one yet.

    The cops decided that they will now drive around in hopped up SUVs searching for texters to bust. SO MUCH FOR THE GREEN AGENDA.

    • 0 avatar
      ...m...

      …ghost-marked cars have been all the rage throughout central texas over the past several years: police livery in the same color as the vehicle body, so closely-matched as to be indiscernible any further away than about six inches under direct sunlight…i presume they’re popular because technically-unmarked vehicles somehow are regulated differently, but in whatever case the only functional telltale is the blacker-than-legal window tint concealing the lightbar and police gear inside; i’ve seen ghost-marked cars and trucks in all manner of factory colors, running civilian plates to boot…

      …as for regular-livery marked police SUVs, they’ve been commonplace across texas since the the turn of the millenium…the big highway patrol SUVs seemed to proliferate especially once the fox-body mustangs were retired from DPS duty…

      • 0 avatar

        I wear Versace polarized sunglasses all the time which allows me to see right into the tinted cop cars and spot the light bars.

        Another tell tale sign are their bubble tires.

        Some livery cabs wear the donuts and the extra side view mirror, but you can spot the cabs by checking for TLC on their license plate.

        Cops in motion like to try and holdup the left-most lane until you get annoyed and race past them. Common trick – but I see it immediately by weaving the middle/right lane and going prone till they leave.

        • 0 avatar
          Ion

          Most of lower Westchester have resulted to using ghost cars for traffic. It allows them to skirt around the rule that an unmarked car needs official plates to perform stops.

          • 0 avatar
            Nick_515

            Three years ago I saw someone get pulled over by… I kid you not… a taxicab crown vic. yellow, plates above the roof… the works. On Fordham Road right in front of the main campus entrance. Now I was not close enough to see if it had actual T&LC plates.

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          “Cops in motion like to try and holdup the left-most lane until you get annoyed and race past them.”

          @bigtruck, sometimes Occam’s razor applies.

          No kidding, a few weeks ago on my 6am commute (rural roads), a small town cop doing 55~60 in a 45 passed me on a four-lane section of road. A few miles after it narrowed down to two lanes, I caught up as he was now behind somebody doing 45~50 in a 55 (the somebody was probably skittish at seeing the cop car in the mirror, not sure why he went extra slow- usually the sign of a drunk driver, someone riding dirty, or just plain garden variety dimwit). The cop’s brake lights would occasionally blink, but for whatever reason, he wouldn’t pass. I got fed up with that and passed both of them (me going a few clicks over the limit). Right after that, skittish guy picks up the pace, along with I-have-no-idea-how-to-pass cop, and the rest of the caravan… friggin idiots. I gradually pulled away, and a few miles later, the road widened out to four lanes. Yep, you guessed it, cop blows past me (him going 65~70). Yet farther ahead on a two-lane section, I could still see him, brake lights blinking, running up against people’s back bumpers…

          Note, I have no problem with any of the speeds the cop was going. And none of this was inside his normal jurisdiction (small town city cop but all this was way out in the county where the sheriff and highway patrol keep a lid on motoring mayhem and various crime).

          The simple fact is that crappy drivers come in all jobs and walks of life, including law enforcement.

      • 0 avatar

        Same in Toronto. We also just ordered a whole wack of Ford PIs, Explorer and Taurus models.

    • 0 avatar
      Joe McKinney

      Here in Alabama the Highway Patrol uses low profile Chargers. These cars are slicktops painted dark, solid colors (I have seen them in black, silver and gray). The only agency marking is a Alabama State Trooper door seal on the passenger side door. They also run fully marked Chargers.

      The Alabama Troopers I have spoken to say the Highway Patrol will be replacing its CVPIs with Tahoes. Last year they bought a handfull of Caprice PPVs for evaluation, but no further orders followed. Earlier this year they bought a bunch of Tahoes. At this time the CVPI is still the most common vehicle in the AHP fleet with the Tahoe second and Charger third.

      Next door in Mississippi the Mississippi Highway Patrol has been buying large numbers of Chargers. They also use the Tahoe for Commercial Vehicle Enforcement.

    • 0 avatar
      Compaq Deskpro

      I think texters are much more dangerous than speeders, they should be pulled over.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    This trend is puzzling.

    It’s almost as if police departments are showing concern for the comfort and safety of officers.

    Budget cuts will straighten out this errant thinking before too long and put the coppers into C-segment squishmobiles where they belong.

    Beep beep.. This is the Police!

    • 0 avatar

      The cops don’t deserve much more than turbocharged Fiat 500′s.

      Only in America would we preach “being green” and allow the pigs to have HEMI powered CHARGERS or V8 panthers.

      If it was up to me, they’d all be in Tauruses with the REGULAR V6

      Muhahahahahah

      Reinstate the 2nd amendment and concealed carry permits available for all and WE WON’T NEED THE POLICE. After all, they are nothing more than after-the-fact evidence gatherers. They can’t protect me as well as my Kimber .45.

      If you see something SPRAY SOMETHING!

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        Right.. should put their fat asses on bicycles.

        How dare they have ever hassled you!

      • 0 avatar
        BerlinDave

        Amen but screw the bicycles and let them do foot patrols. Then they could catch the people that do not pick up their dog shit and other really important stuff.

      • 0 avatar
        Rental Man

        I have seen the NYC Hybrid Altima’s and Ford Fusions. Seem to only be good for a silent surprise Stop & Frisk. Your Fiat 500 is just to small. How do you get an alleged criminal into the back seat? Rear Hatch?
        In Europe I see Bimmer’s, Mercedes and other larger vehicles in Police service. Same in Australia with the big cars. Abu Dhabi police cars anyone? The US fleet of SUV’s works with the 4WD/AWD that is very handy in lots of areas. Bronco’s, RamChargers and Blazers were always around. This new generation of Police Sport utilities is better, Safer, Faster and gets similar MPG to large AWD sedan. It can accommodate a large protected Police officer wearing all his gear and go on a chase.

        • 0 avatar

          ” Fiat 500 is just to small. How do you get an alleged criminal into the back seat? Rear Hatch?”

          The cops will be stuffed into Abarths like Pigs in a Blanket and when it becomes necessary to arrest, they call for backup: the Fiat 500L!

          • 0 avatar
            zenofchaos

            Remember the days of the old plastic bubbles that go on the top of vehicles? I religiously used one on my Subie wagon when transporting band equipment. You could probably shoehorn 2 perps in there, but you’d probably be over the roof weight limit by a touch…

      • 0 avatar
        morbo

        Until the next riot/civil disturbance/terrorist attack. Then you’ll be preaching their good graces to SkyFather above.

        I trust in the Arlington VA police state. I like knowing that most fools from SE DC and Maryland are afraid to come into Arlington, because our cops have a reputation for being…. thorough with criminal scum. It’s a little unnerving to know they have real time cameras scanning license plate data and facial recognition cameras tracking people during patrol. A little more that their are 17 separate police jurisdictions with arrest authority here. But I trust the hairless apes human scum less than the coppers.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          ++ Hating cops is so lame.

          Nothing says pallid basement internet slug like hating cops.

          • 0 avatar
            Silvy_nonsense

            Everybody hates the cops until they are the victim of a crime, then its “Please, please get the mean man who stole my precious, limited edition, irreplaceable Xbox.”

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            I don’t agree that everyone hates the cops by default. On the contrary, I’d say that most people support the police in most of what they do by default as the predominant view being taught in institutions and throughout most of society is to blindly trust these authority figures. I would agree in most cases, it is OK to aire on the side of trusting them, but not blindly.

            The distaste usually manifests once someone has been wronged, real or perceived by the police. From then on out, they are more likely to take a cynical viewpoint.

          • 0 avatar
            wolfinator

            I completely disagree.

            I, like most everyone else I know growing up, was inculcated with a reasonable respect for cops. That only went away with real life experience.

            Heck, I have relatives who WORK IN LAW ENFORCEMENT who will criticize/complain about police. In the right venue, of course. Probably not in front of the proles.

            And seriously, you think the cops will help you with minor crimes? “Minor” meaning anything where they didn’t have to clean up your brains afterwards? Not in my state!

            Regarding the XBox comment: Have you ever been the victim of a property crime? Oh yeah, the cops are a real help there! I’ve been robbed. I know zillions of people who have had their cars stolen, their property damaged, breakins, etc etc. I have an older aunt who lives alone, whose been robbed in broad daylight three times, once WITH WITNESSES. Think the cops are ANY help there? Pffft. I’ve never even heard of the cops even vaguely investigating such things.

            Here’s how cops “help” you after a property crime. You call them. Eventually, over the next few days, when it’s convenient, officer McDonut will waddle over to your place. He’ll have some paperwork, and ask you superfluous questions. “Are you sure your car is stolen? It wasn’t just ‘borrowed’??”

            If he feels like it, he’ll file the papers somewhere. Maybe give your kid some stickers if you ask nicely.

            If you want “protection”, here’s some things that might help: A gun, steel doors to your house, property insurance, health insurance, and disability insurance. Thinking cops will help you is only naivete. At least where I live.

            To be clear: I don’t think that police officers serve no purpose. I just think they serve no purpose the way they generally are now. Unless you count harassing people trying to get to work for driving 6mph over 55 while collecting insane benefits their “purpose”.

        • 0 avatar
          cartunez

          We have seen what the police do during major civil unrest. Sorry but I trust the everyday American citizen over a state sponsored killer. But then again I was raised to to protect myself and value my success and the achievements of others. Maybe you are correct in that some people need to worship the boot of the state but in my sphere fuck the police. Regarding the article they need the cheapest transportation that can be purchased.

      • 0 avatar
        Nick_515

        BTRS, you talk like you’re ready to go storm Fallujah just because you drive a fast car.

        Police indeed mostly collect evidence after the fact. But true protection comes from social norms. When they break down, no gun will save you.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        You’re not thinking green enough! (Environment green AND money green.) Think Isettas or Messerschmidt bubble cars- those Fiats with their four wheels have a carbon footprint that is way too big. Plus the savings by instantly cutting 25% of the tire budget!

        ;)

      • 0 avatar
        Superdessucke

        I’d put them in Chevy Volts. Government Motors needs the money and America needs jobs. Plus it’s green and responsible, and you have four doors.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      The alternative vehicles being bought are relatively cheap, they’re easier to get out of in a hurry, and you can fit more perps in the back seat. In the review of the Taurus PI, I noted there was nearly no legroom left after the cage was installed, an ACLU lawsuit waiting to happen. What good is a PI if you have to hold a couple perps until a prisoner van shows up?

  • avatar
    ash78

    Hey, these things are green! Most of them are flex fuel and accept E85. That’s SUPER TERRIFIC GREEN and if you disagree you an ill-informed commie.

    Honestly, fuel economy is typically a relatively small part of overall purchase and upkeep on these things. And idling is idling, very little difference between the various V8 and V6 vehicles under discussion.

    But it’s still an impression thing — Tahoes (which are the norm almost everywhere in my metro area, among 10+ different PDs) pretty easily provide the most bang for the buck in terms of space, flexibility, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      mikedt

      Which begs the question, why all the idling? Are cars not starting that big of a deal anymore? Hell, start/stop engines are becoming standard equipment on consumer vehicles. But cops idle at speed traps and they idle at coffee shops, they never shut the things off. Why? Is there really a legitimate reason or just “because”.

  • avatar
    David Hester

    No surprise that the Explorer- based Police Interceptor Utility is outselling the Taurus- based Police Interceptor Sedan, given what a horrible car the Taurus is. The bottom line is that police cars need space for officers, prisoners, and equipment. It’s simply the most important criteria. As cars shrink, the only realistic alternative is SUVs.

    The Police Explorer gets roughly the same gas mileage as the Crown Vic did, so there’s really no loss.

    • 0 avatar
      IndianaDriver

      The Taurus Police Interceptor is a heavy duty car with very beefy parts, similar to those in the Police Explorer. They are built on the same production line in Chicago. I think the reason police departments are getting more Explorer SUVs is that they are fairly fuel efficient compared to the Tahoes and they can justify it with their budgets. When things are pretty equal, most people will take an SUV over a car and I can’t see the police departments being much different.

      • 0 avatar

        The Taurus and Charger AWD make more sense than small Crossovers/SUVS because they handle better at high speed and have tighter turn radii without tipping over: part of the reason cops love panthers. The SUV phase-in is to go after texters specifically.

        Honestly, I think they should charge TESLA with building police EV’s. The police waste so much fuel as is – might as well FORCE THEM TO ACCEPT an EV future first. It’ll do wonders for my Tesla stock!

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Did you long it from last fall or take a more recent position?

        • 0 avatar
          mankyman

          Here in my suburb of Memphis, the cops have been phasing out their crown Vic’s in favor of Tahoes. Hilarity ensues. 6 months of service and 6 rollover accidents already.

          I just don’t know how they’re going to go around any corner at speed with one of those massive SUVs. I would be curious to know rollover data in a couple of years.

      • 0 avatar
        David Hester

        The Police Interceptor Sedan sucks as a police car because the Taurus sucks as a car. Its large on the outside while being too small on the inside and you can’t see out of it. The underlying platform is garbage, so beefing up the components doesn’t fix it. It’s a basic design problem that adding beefier tires and brakes to doesn’t correct.

        The Explorer fixes the two main problems of being too small inside and difficult to see out of. The powertrains are the same while the gas mileage figures aren’t that different. If the trend towards SUVs for police work continues, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ford drop the police package Taurus as an option at some point in the future and focus on marketing the Explorer.

        • 0 avatar
          Michael S.

          This x1000.

          Even the undercover/non-interceptor models are bemoaned for the lack of interior space. These are local, state, and federal agencies I’ve heard complaining. The Chevy Cruze one agency around here uses for these purposes has more interior space…

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            The great irony is that when the current Taurus platform was sold as the Five Hundred and then name changed to Taurus for 08-09 with no real change in style, the vehicle was cavernous inside. In the name of fashion the Taurus adopts a revised body and suddenly all that interior space goes away. I’d argue that a 08-09 Taurus would have been a better cop car than the current one.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          This is exactly why my home town’s police force just bought a fleet of Explorers. They tried out the Taurus and absolutely hated it. Cramped inside, and terrible visibility. Not much difference in price either. My Grandfather is on the purchasing committee for the town.

    • 0 avatar
      carrya1911

      Mr. Hester gets it. It’s about space to carry all the stuff you have to carry. Like what? Well….

      - Active Shooter go-bag
      - Patrol rifle
      - Less-lethal shotgun
      - Level IV body armor
      - AED
      - Roadside breathalyzer
      - Evidence kit
      - Various breaching tools
      - Dashcam/comms electronics
      - First aid/trauma kit
      - battery jumper pack
      - Locked door kit
      - backup taser

      …and the list goes on and on. Like the guy from JSOC once said “I’m issued 80 pounds of ultra-light equipment. Sure, it’s ‘ultra-light’ but there’s still 80 pounds of it.”

      SUVs make more sense.

      • 0 avatar
        dts187

        I worked with several law enforcement agencies at my last job and the amount of gear inside even makes the Crown Vics feel a little cramped. One of the veteran guys sighed and shook his head when he learned I was going to be installing a laptop stand, laptop, cellular modem, and associated wiring that would be taking up even more of his space.

        It really is too bad Carbon Motors or a company like it can’t make a purpose-built cruiser that can best the Big 3 in price and convenience.

  • avatar
    morbo

    Around here, Arlington appears to be trying everything and seeing what sticks. There’s a speed / red light enforcement in front of my apartment building. Four to six times a day, as I exit/enter, I see they’ve pulled someone over. In the past couple months, I ve seen

    Marked Taurus Interceptor
    Marked CVPI
    Marked Caprice
    Marked Impala
    Marked Charger
    Marked Explorer
    Marked Expedition
    Marked Tahoe
    Marked Suburban
    Marked Silverado 4-Door
    Marked Ram 4-Door
    Unmarked Tahoe
    Unmarked Suburban
    Unmarked F-150
    Unmarked Durango
    Unmarked Impala

    I’m sure i’ve missed a few. There a still a ton of CVPI’s runnning around. I’m guessing they got a couple of the newest, and are testing them to see what works best for Arlington.

    Though around here I’m surprised it’s not Marked Mercedes or BMWs.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      That’s a sign of an overfunded dept and/or a cash strapped muni right there. The red light camera sounds like a slot machine and they cash in their chips at the dealerships.

      • 0 avatar
        morbo

        Mix of both. It’s a 4 lane boulevard in front of my apartment, but with a heavy mix of bikes and pedestrians. It’s by 23rd street, so there’s a lot of oblivious drunks stumbling out of resturants and bars too. One block off of US1, so a lot of higher speed traffic is exiting at too high a speed for the neighborhood / running the red.

        That said, Arlington does treat it as a cash cow. There are worse intersections that don’t get this level of policing. There are numerous blinds they can be hidden behind specifically by my building that makes it easy to catch people unaware.

        Course, Arlington also paid $1,000,000 dollars for a bus stop. Then paid $25,000 to study why they paid $1,000,000 for a bus stop. Someone’s gotta pay for it. I just get the side benefit of not getting run over on my bike by someone speeding because of it.

        http://www.arlnow.com/2013/06/25/arlington-launches-review-of-1-million-bus-stop/

  • avatar
    Michael S.

    Some of you are showing your ignorance in these postings regarding fuel economy, green agendas, etc. These SUVs and pickups are usually returning the same, and often better fuel economy than the sedans.

    The Taurus, Charger, and SS used by police fleets aren’t the most fuel efficient offerings to begin with. Nor are they made to handle all the extra weight from various electronic and communications systems, heat caused by time spent idling, or (in the new ones) accommodate an average size man wearing a gun belt loaded with gear and a doublestacked semi-auto. Pack all the stuff in there required for the sedan to do the job and fuel economyy and space go way down while wear and tear go up.

    The SUVs and trucks were built to handle the extra weight, and some come pursuit ready off the assembly line with no alterations to the suspension or tires. They can take the abuse, long idle times, and rough road conditions much better than the sedans. With the simpler and more open layout under the hood, they’re generally more easy to maintain. And since these were designed to haul, tow, etc., they handle the added equipment weight better than their sedan counterparts.

    And no, the fleet SUVs and trucks don’t run that much more than the cars. Considering the fuel/maintenance savings, they’re easily offset within a year or two.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Jeez, I hate this kid.

      Let’s just go to Big Truck’s house. Maybe his Mom will feed us.

    • 0 avatar
      cward24

      As far as the budgets for these vehicles are concerned the difference in pricing for government fleet buyers for the Explorers and the Tauruses are very close to each other (within $600 of each other). Actually the Taurus Interceptor with the Ecoboost is more expensive than the Explorer Interceptor.

      The cars are the the police on the side (the half and half) are really painted one solid color. It is a a vinyl wrap around the car that can be removed when the vehicle is sold.

      These vehicles do have an extra battery for the “stuff” but it is easier to run them on the alternator than to have the battery go dead when you need to start the vehicle in a hurry.

  • avatar
    racer193

    Round here the the RCMP must have bought the remaining crown vics because they are still the prevelent cruiser in use( RCMP= GRC in french= gouvernment rally car). The local regional police seem to be in f-150 and taurus. I have yet to see an explorer based bacon blanket round here.

  • avatar

    I’m seeing more and more MA State Police Explorers. They seem to have bought a whole bunch recently.

    • 0 avatar
      lightbulb

      They are replacing the aged Crown Vics, and the newer Chargers that turned out to be too expensive to maintain with Explorers, and some Tahoes. I also see many local police depts are now using Explorers.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The height of the SUVs makes license plate readers more effective.

    Previously, highway patrol cars were oriented toward pursuit. Now, it’s about data collection.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    If nothing else, the Taurus is extremely hard to see out of when you need to make quick maneuvers. It looks and feels larger than it is, and I’m pretty sure it’s bested for interior space by the Fusion. I don’t blame agencies for moving to Explorers. But what I’m seeing in my area are unmarked Caprice PPVs…

    • 0 avatar
      Nick_515

      Aren’t they perfect?!? Who, other than enthusiasts who look out for the police, know what an unmarked Caprice is? I always give the officers a hello nod whenever a caprice goes by…

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    It has been interesting to watch things change here in New Mexico.

    Local sheriffs department was all about the Crown Vic and bubble Caprice when I arrived in 2002, however they spent the next decade switching to Tahoe and Expedition based units until they had 0 sedans remaining. In 2010 we had an election for sheriff and with the change in leadership came a move toward the Taurus police package so now we have a mix of Tahoe/Expedition/Taurus (from what I’ve heard the officers like the Expedition best for actual comfort.)

    When I came to New Mexico the State Highway Patrol and public safety department were using the Crown Vic exclusively but then started to purchase a small number of Tahoes. Now that the Crown Vic is dead they seem to be taking a two pronged approach – Charger for unmarked cars (although they paint them so black and tint the widows so dark they stick out anyway). For marked cars they are buying Tauruses. The only government fleet Explorers I see are being purchased by non law enforcement government agencies.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Down in Southern New Mexico, the Las Cruces/Anthony/Alamogordo district, the State Police use F150s, Explorers, Chargers and an occasional left-over Crown Vic.

      The Chargers are all black with no markings except for the blinking headlights and the red/blue lights behind the front grill, the array of yellow/red/blue lights in the back window and the GPS dome on top.

      The OTR truckers get pulled over by a Black&White F150 with the GPS dome on top.

      And the Explorers have all the lights on top, are decked out in festive Black&White paint with the GPS dome on top and cruise Hwy 70, Hwy 54, Hwy 82 and respond to calls for assistance from other law enforcement agencies.

      They must be doing pretty good financially since the budget shortfall forced them to mine the highways and byways for additional income by writing tickets.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Yeah I’m now adjusting my speed (when not driving the vehicle with the radar detector) to “what fine am I comfortable paying?”

        The funny thing is the breakdown is like this:
        -Navajo Nation deputies: never pull you over unless you pass them going 20 over. If they do pull you over you’ll be warned unless you are a Navajo Nation employee. Then they’ll give you a ticket just to get you in trouble with your bosses.
        -Sheriff deputies: radar always on but only pull you over if they feel like it and will allow a 10 over cushion. 50% chance you’ll get a warning
        -State Highway Patrol (Gallup Branch): Radar always on and will pull you over regardless of conditions or time of day for anything over 10 over. You WILL get a ticket. Even if you were trying to get your pregnant wife to the hospital, you will get a ticket.

        My favorite is when I’m speeding, no traffic other than me on the road, clear sunny day, good pavement and still you must pull me over because OMG I’m going 85 mph on a four lane highway but otherwise not breaking a single other regulation.

        My second favorite was a Sunday morning violation that resulted in a ticket. I was more awake than the cop was. Thought he would fall asleep in his cruiser before he could finish writing the ticket.

        • 0 avatar
          typhoon

          Just last month, I was driving on US-550 N, in between Bernalillo and Cuba, in my 1988 Audi 80 in the middle of the night. I was driving up a hill and there was nobody else around, so I decided to let it go a little. A sheriff’s deputy happened to be cresting the hill; as I saw him flip around in my rear-view, I thought to myself, “You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me.” Got a ticket for going 85 in a 70 MPH zone (uphill! in fifth!). Saw maybe two other cars on the highway that night. (I think he was driving a Tahoe, if anyone’s curious.)

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Naw, man, that’s how they make their extracurricular cash money for the county — from writing tickets.

            It’s called “Mining the Highways.”

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Cuba, NM, on US 550, is really bad for giving out tickets.

          I got pulled over outside of Cuba this past June, on my way to Green River, UT, because the deputy wanted to check out my trailer and my truck.

          Clearly, he was fishing and let me off with a verbal, telling me to watch my speed.

          Hell, I was driving a fully loaded-down Tundra with a 9X15 Haulmark twin-tandem trailer behind it doing 50mph in a 55mph zone, following an 18-wheeler.

          Fortunately, I got an early heads-up from both my Escort Detector and an oncoming motorist, flashing their headlights at me and was able to avert disaster, BEFORE the deputy came within range and sight.

    • 0 avatar
      Scribe39

      N.M. officers must be midgets.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Don’t you guys who like to lead-foot it on occasion have radar detectors (except Dan)? I’m one of those guys who when it’s safe will do 80-85 but never without the detector on. A good one (don’t bother unless you get a good one) will run about $300+ which is about the cost of a 20+ limit ticket in my state. Well worth the investment.

      If they’re illegal in your state, never mind

  • avatar
    learning_to_live

    The police tahoe and explorer have a lower center of gravity than the normal ones – almost as low as the Crown Vic. The Police charger and impala have a trunk opening too small to pull a shotgun or rifle straight in and out of the trunk, a big problem in high crime areas where these things might be needed. The taurus is ok, but the prisoner space is too small.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    Police departments around here are pretty much exclusively Chargers and Explorers…a few Crown Vics still hang around, especially in the PA State Trooper ranks, but the regional departments have sold off their Crown Vics in favor of Chargers and Explorers, with the Explorers pretty much entirely replacing the Tahoes.

  • avatar
    fincar1

    I saw several Nevada Highway Patrol four-door F-150 pickups in Nevada last year.

    • 0 avatar
      sco

      maybe i’m missing something here but what purpose could an F150 serve as a law enforcement vehicle? What could possibly be carried in the bed?

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        The same thing that almost everyone else that owns a F150 Super Crew normally carries int he bed…..nothing.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          I peeked into the bed of a New Mexico State Police 4-door 4X4 F150 and it was empty.

          A shotgun was standing upright against the dashboard, adjacent to the center console and electronics were everywhere, in the dash, under the dash, on top of the dash and on an overhead console.

          The back portion of the truck had been partitioned off into a prisoner cell by using bars and metal mesh behind the front seats and glass areas. I’m assuming the rear doors were child-proofed and could not be opened from the inside.

          The driver seat reminded me of a Recaro Bucket; full, fat and it looked very supportive like a recliner, unlike the standard F150 seats.

          The truck had twin-exhausts but had no indication on the fender as to the size of the engine under the hood.

          I’m speculating that the truck I looked at was the Police version of a Raptor, painted black and white with Police markings and outfitted up for pursuit use.

          • 0 avatar
            chicagoland

            The F-150 will have better resale then the Old Vics, which got dumped into cab companies. Pick-ups get more cash in used market.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            No doubt!

            But the Vics were also in high demand when they were retired from law enforcement and we see a bunch of them still running around with the markings removed, but still with the characteristic white roof and typical PPV stance.

          • 0 avatar
            sco

            Well, while I hope it’s something tangible like better resale value, I’m pretty sure it’s just that cops like pickups.
            From the looks of the last picture in the article, it looks like the police pickup has lock boxes in the bed so the cops can quickly hop out, jump up into the bed, unlock the box and pull out, what…their weapons?

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Lots of departments pull the stock seats and install Recarros or other aftermarket seats. Years ago at the local county auction they had a couple of pallets of Recarros that had been pulled before the vehicle was sold with the original seat. I seriously thought about buying them but I wasn’t sure what I’d do with like 10 seats with most of them with very worn upholstery.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            The law-enforcement-vehicle auctions in New Mexico are always well attended.

            The contractor who does the refits and paint jobs varies from time to time because there was so much fraud and abuse in the past where contractors would pull all the good stuff and put it in the vehicle they wanted to buy for themselves, and stuffed the rest with the nasty, wore out stuff.

            Anyone can bid as long as they put up bond. I have only attended one auction, in Albuquerque at the Fair Grounds, years ago, and they had every conceivable retired cop car, van, bus, truck or command-post RV there, in one place.

            It was sheer madness! And much of it was “Lot Buying” like the 10 Recarro seats you mentioned or a pallet of this or that.

            So I don’t go anymore to those auctions. But others sure do.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    @danio: I hate bored suburban cops who spend their time looking desperately for any criminal activity in order to have something to do.

    There was something in the local newspaper months ago that I use as a joke: someone attempted to steal a sweatshirt from the local Wal-Mart, and the local cops apparently thought that warranted an investigation.

    There’s also the fact that when my mom and her boyfriend had a big fight and he went walking off down the road and she followed him, one of these wannabe hero cops thought that there was domestic abuse going on. I’ve got no respect for cops who want to be action heroes.

    • 0 avatar
      chicagoland

      Well, in my burb, I am glad they are active. Keeps petty thieves out.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        I don’t mind an active police force, but these local guys seem to drive around hoping crime will happen in front of them so that they have something to do. It’s like they want to be city cops but can’t accept that they live in an area where crime does not happen on a regular basis, or if it does, it’s so minor that the perpetrators don’t even need to serve jail time. Vandalism, drunk and disorderly conduct, shoplifting, that sort of thing. That’s what we have around here.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      The demented old man who lived down the street threatened to off himself one morning. There were 14 cruisers here.

      Just like the fire department taking their $500,000 hook and ladders out every morning to run from fender bender to fender bender because there aren’t any fires to go to.

      Bored is exactly it. I’m not ordinarily big on redistribution so if it were up to me I’d just fire them. But redistributing these public loafers from white suburbia to the bad neighborhoods where they’d actually have a job to do would be a satisfactory alternative.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        Exactly, you get it. These guys aren’t doing anything by roaming the streets because there really isn’t anything to patrol FOR. All they’re going to catch is speeders and maybe a handful of stoners.

        Police academies should teach a mandatory “Your Life is Not an Action Movie” course that shows the real day-to-day of a suburban police officer. Petty crime, speeding tickets, and paperwork.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    Around here many departments got heavily into the Tahoe when the Crown Vic when they foolishly believed Chrysler’s line that the Charger would be cheaper than the Crown Vic thanks to it’s lower price and better fuel economy ratings and thus failed to get orders in for the last Crown Vics. A friend is responsible for purchasing the vehicles for a local city and when the Charger first came out he fell for that line. It didn’t take long for him to watch his budget get blown by their higher real world operating cost. He switched to mainly purchasing Tahoes because they got better real world MPG, cost less to maintain, repair and the officers didn’t loose control and wreck them while thinking they were race car drives since they had a Hemi.

    As far as the Interceptor Utility vs the Interceptor Sedan what I’ve seen over at good car bad car the Utility has been the sales king from the beginning and the Sedan has been besting the PPV. Unfortunately they don’t break out the Charger and Tahoe numbers to be able to complete the comparison, but I see very few Chargers in my neck of the woods, only the smaller cites seem to have them.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Arizona also uses them. I was going East on I-8 near Casa Grande, AZ, recently and an all-white unmarked Charger passed me like a bat going out of hell.

      I was doing 85mph on cruise in the right lane at the time and saw him coming behind me in the left lane from a long, long, long way off and my guess is he was doing waaaaaay over 100mph. Probably had it floored.

      His exhaust stank up everything in his wake and there were the tell-tale lollipops in the rear window, like the AZ Highway Patrol uses.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Our state patrol used the Chargers for a while, one of them snuck up and got me a couple of years ago, but they have pretty much disappeared from the fleet. Pretty soon after they had the first batch of Chargers they pretty quickly ordered up as many Crown Vics as the could, stock piled them and supplemented the cars with a fair amount of Tahoes.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          I’ve noticed a few Camaros and Mustangs while I was in and around the Camp Pendleton area this past June.

          And those boys and girls were busy bees writing out them tickets along I-5, I-10, I-15 and other off-shoots like the I-405.

          Mostly Chargers and White Explorers on I-10 through AZ. And their cops don’t use radar or laser. It is all done through timing marks. They’ll leave you alone if you go 10 over but at 15 over it depends on how good a night the cop had.

          New Mexico is a poor state and if you have out-of-state license plates and drive anything other than a Buick, you’re marked for a donation to the County Treasury if you even as much as spit on the highway and they see you do it.

  • avatar
    daviel

    That’s old news around Dallas and Ellis counties, Texas. They’ve been nailing us with SUVs for a few years now.

  • avatar
    brettc

    Here in Maine they seem to be buying a lot of the Taurus sedans for State Police. Have yet to see a new Explorer painted in State trooper blue. State Police do have Tahoes, but they’re driven by the commercial inspection division to inspect trucks. Plus they have their unmarked Mustangs and still have some marked and unmarked CVPIs. South Portland’s department does have a new Explorer to go along with their new Chargers. So here in Southern Maine it’s mostly cars, which is kind of surprising.

  • avatar
    lightbulb

    Mass State police seem to have dropped the Chargers and retired many Crown vics for the new Ford Explorer. A few years ago I saw many SP Chargers now I haven’t seen one in a year. I heard they where not happy with the poor reliability. Still see many SP and local Crown vics, seems they are holding onto them longer. I see very few Taurus police cars in New England region.

  • avatar
    AJ

    In my area they like Chrysler products. There is an unmarked white RAM running around my city. It must be weird to get pulled over by a RAM?

    Now on my way to work, everyone does 10 to 15 mph over the speed limit like anywhere. It’s like shooting fish in barrel for writing tickets at least until everyone starts to brake check and cause accidents. Another fun thing that LEOs get to do is drive along with traffic. One time there were three lanes of cars backed up at least a quarter mile behind one cop, while it was clear traffic for a mile ahead.

  • avatar
    Wunsch

    SUVs are also popular with police in jurisdictions where cell phone use while driving is illegal. They make it much easier to see into the interior of other vehicles.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    CVPI fan-boys were predicting ‘Armageddon’ when their favorite used car was killed off. But, I think Mullaly knew the Explorer would be a good replacement. Taurus can be used for light duty work, like College Campus security.

    Also, no need for all cop cars to be ready for ‘hot pursuit’. Too many lawsuits, and with cameras, GPS, no need to go 0-60 in 4 seconds. Fan boys would say “Ford has a moral obligation to make CV’s forever”, but they were truly obsolete, and cops love the Explorers.

  • avatar
    captnslur

    Don’t SUV’s and pick up trucks tend to tip over more readily?

    Tests reveal that traction on these 4X4′s is worse that front drive sedans on icy roads – more apt to loose it and slide off the road than the cars they may be pursuing. They are faster across a parking lot but slower on the road.

    Perhaps it’s an ego thing with some officers and departments – just like some of the owners of SUV’s and pick ups in general. Just a thought.

    • 0 avatar
      west-coaster

      Neither the Chevey Tahoe PPV nor Ford Police Interceptor Utility are “4x4s.” The pursuit-rated Tahoe is RWD, and the PI Utility is FWD.

      And if you saw either in action during LASD or MSP testing, they’re not prone to “tipping over” during cornering exercises any more than a sedan is.

  • avatar
    mars3941

    A friend had a 2004 Mercury Marauder all black with the police pursuit package and he had a ball on the Florida Turnpike and I 95. They would line up behind him for miles with him having the cruise set at 70MPH.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      There was no “pursuit package” available on the Marauder the ones the Florida State Patrol used were standard Marauders, I know of a few fellow Marauder owners that purchased them when the state patrol auctioned them off.

      • 0 avatar
        mars3941

        I disagree with you. On the trunk it had a police interceptor nameplate. Instead of using the term pursuit package I should have used police interceptor.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          I’d say someone added that badge then because I know a half a dozen people who own ex Florida State Patrol Marauders that do not have that badge and are not equipped any differently from the standard Marauder, they have none of the PI parts on them other than the ones you find on every Marauder. No higher output alternator, no oil cooler, no wiring for the lights.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    Ohio Highway Patrol is using a mix of Chargers (in silver) and white Tahoes to replace their CVPIs.

    The unmarked Tahoes the Toledo Police have around look particularly badass. You can tell that they are lowered a bit from “normal” Tahoes. They look especially cool in the dazzling white with the dark-tinted windows.


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