By on April 7, 2016

2017 Ford Police Interceptor Utility

It’s getting harder and harder to recognize cop cars in your rearview mirror.

First, Ford dropped the long-serving Crown Victoria police cruiser, whose telltale headlights could be spotted from the moon, and now the rooftop light bar is fading into history.

Today, the Ford Motor Company announced a new factory option for the 2017 Police Interceptor Utility (aka a gussied-up Explorer) that places the front light bar inside the vehicle, near the top of the windshield.

The option allows police vehicles to keep a low profile, in every sense of the word.

2017 Ford Police Interceptor Utility light bar

“Today, agencies typically use aftermarket interior visor light bars that are somewhat bulky and can obstruct the field of vision – especially for taller officers,” said Stephen Tyler, Ford’s police marketing manager for North American fleet operations, in a statement.

The light bar is a slim unit that mounts where the headliner and windshield meet. To improve visibility of the lights, the tinted windshield strip is eliminated in vehicles with this option.

Besides the alternating blue and red that ensures drivers’ hearts skip at least one beat, the bar has white light capability for illuminating scenes where you — yes, you — might be in need of arrest. The bar is also programmable for just-red and just-blue operation.

If you spent years feeling confident that a roof bar or amber parking lights set inboard of the headlights would help you spot The Man before and after dark, your life just became more uncertain.

[Images: Ford Motor Company]

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89 Comments on “Explorer, Incognito: Ford Adds More Stealth to its Police Interceptor...”


  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    I still want those wheels for our MkT’s winter set up.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      Find on the net at 70 bucks each.
      Search on Ford Explorer Police Interceptor Wheel

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Are they that cheap? Reproductions? From Ford they are $300 a piece or something crazy.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Did you check a junkyard as well? These things do go down for the count and have been out for years now.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Good idea. Thank you.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Np… here’s a whole D3 Interceptor for 10K claiming 44K miles.

            https://detroit.craigslist.org/wyn/cto/5486489180.html

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Now I’m going to want to buy one. The C-Max is paid off this summer…

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Perhaps for cheap fun, but I think you’d prefer a Navi…

            Just because you know I have a data sickness, here is how the MY15s fare:

            MY15 Ford Taurus Police Interceptor AWD “V6” (not sure which)

            12/15/15 CHICAGO Factory $18,100 13 Below WHITE 6G A No
            12/23/15 TAMPA Factory $19,800 24 Avg BLACK 6G A No
            01/26/16 CHICAGO Factory $20,400 27 Avg BLACK 6G A No
            02/23/16 CHICAGO Factory $17,100 37 Below BLUE 6G A No
            03/18/16 PA Regular $23,000 50 Avg BLACK 6GT A Yes
            01/13/16 DETROIT Lease $20,000 298 Avg WHITE 6G A Yes

            MY14

            03/10/16 DETROIT Lease $19,300 997 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
            12/16/15 DETROIT Lease $23,900 1,284 Above BLACK 6GT A Yes
            03/09/16 DETROIT Lease $20,000 3,253 Avg WHITE 6G A Yes
            10/07/15 HRSNBURG Lease $1,500 8,964 Below BLUE 6G A No
            10/07/15 HRSNBURG Lease $1,700 16,799 Below BLU/SLVR 6G A No
            03/24/16 ATLANTA Regular $9,500 90,494 Below WHITE 6ET A No

            (not sure why two are under 2 grand, totaled or otherwise wrecked?)

            MY15 Ford Explorer Police Interceptor AWD 3.7

            03/09/16 DENVER Factory $27,400 19 Above WHI/ 6ET A No
            01/27/16 SAN ANTO Factory $24,300 19 Below BLUE 6G A No
            12/08/15 KC Factory $26,200 19 Above WHITE 6ET A No
            12/08/15 KC Factory $26,200 19 Above WHITE 6ET A No
            12/23/15 TAMPA Factory $18,500 1,263 Below WHT-YZ 6G A No
            02/24/16 DENVER Factory $24,600 7,575 Avg BLK/UA 6ET A Yes
            12/08/15 CENTPENN Lease $10,900 20,765 Below WHITE 6G A No

        • 0 avatar
          indi500fan

          300 bucks a wheel is a bit high IMHO.
          Aero brand stock car approved steel race wheels are 100.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      you find a new gig, bball?

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Thanks for asking.

        Unfortunately, not yet. Waiting for feedback and scheduling interviews takes forever. I’m on interview four and five with some companies. The last three jobs I’ve had, I was recruited while employed so this experience is different.

        Luckily, I ended up getting some severance pay after b!tching to HR for a couple weeks and winning my unemployment case. We’ve cut down on spending and have actually been able to save money since I’ve been unemployed. Honestly, there are parts of it that have been good for me. I’ve worked full time or played basketball full time since I was fifteen. This has made me reassess my life priorities. My wife has been especially supportive. Still there are good days and bad days.

        You employer needs to call me back. Maybe I shouldn’t have put “Tresmonos” in the “who referred you” box.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I wanted to inquire, but I thought that would be too nosy, so I didn’t!

        • 0 avatar
          tresmonos

          LOL, definitely don’t do that. If you want my email, I can give you my throwaway email so I can get in touch with you IF you think I could assist.

          VO facilities or Ford Land would be a good place for you, honestly. You’d add a ton of facilities experience onto the team. That or the manufacturing business office.

          I was unemployed in 2008 and I know it sucks. I was cancelling car insurance and everything to cut back. I could use a lesson in frugality, honestly. But one thing I learned is to not settle on your next career. I did and made some very expensive moves trying to find my way back to a career that challenged me

        • 0 avatar
          redmondjp

          Keep your chin up. I’ve been there right with you twice, and managed to move companies 6-12 months before I would have gotten the axe a couple of times as well.

          My best suggestion is to network like crazy – your next job may come from one of your wife’s posts on Facebook.

        • 0 avatar
          05lgt

          My wife is on interview #10 with one place. I’m not used to that but she says it’s not completely strange.

  • avatar
    Verbal

    Revenue enhancement just got easier.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      It’s already tough to tell if an Explorer is a Police Interceptor Utility or not. I just assume that every black Explorer is driven by a cop.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        The Explorers are really difficult to pick out from crowd here Ohio too!

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          They use silver, tan, white, dark blue and black so far in this part of Ohio.

          I must now assume that every Explorer is a cop unless they’ve got that blingy chromed grille.

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            You can assume just the opposite too, that none of them are “real” cop cars, especially since they were using aftermarket stuff. Got flashing lights behind you? Ignore them – it could be some nut blinged out with JC.Whitney/Pep-Boys stuff, possibly a dangerous individual.

            Police forces are losing track of the reason why police cars were painted differently and stuck out: they were supposed to be a visible “presence” indicating the police were there and on the job. For rare stealth actions like tailing a suspect, they used unmarked cars.

            The turn to stealth patrol cars should tell you where the police function is going, and it’s a chilling, totalitarian place where we’re no longer citizens to be protected from bad guys, but suspects to be apprehended at the first “wrong” move.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Losing the roof mounted light bar should improve mpg and top speed. Those improvements are handy for highway patrol.

            I’m at the point now that when ever I see a plain Tahoe/Suburban or Explorer I assume it is a cop.

            There was a plain unmarked Tahoe I saw that had the stick family on the back window. That was funny.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Maine has plenty with full bling if you are ever up this way.

            Here the giveaway is dark tinted front windows. Otherwise illegal and an inspection failure.

            My police chief cousin has said he went to all unmarked just because decals are expensive, and everybody knows what cop cars are anyway. They now have a fleet of mostly dark blue Explorers, mostly full civilian trim and wheels, and a couple Tauruses that actually are cop trim.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        Just look through the windshield. Police car will have a barrier inside. Sometimes I mix it with a pickup truck.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Very much not a given in more rural areas. Very few Maine State police cars have them. Rare even in Portland. If you are belligerent and need to be transported, they call for a paddy wagon. Or shoot you…

        • 0 avatar
          apl

          Could not agree more. Stealth and unmarked vehicles should be banned from traffic and patrol details, for the safety of officers & civilians. Stealth and unmarked vehicles are an extreme hazard for those deaf or hard of hearing motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians, whom rely on readily seeing emergency lights, i.e. roof mounted light bar, not the easily obstructed hidden emergency lights.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Actually, I find ’em pretty easy to spot…the civilian Explorers have all kinds of chrome gingerbread, so the police versions, with the blackout trim, stand out.

        And the blackout wheels with the center dish are a dead giveaway.

        Denver PD drives a lot of these.

        Expeditions with plain silver wheels and blackout trim are also usually five-oh.

      • 0 avatar
        Carzzi

        On cop SUV’s around Texas, the roof-rack/rails are missing: smooth roof = revenue raiser/ revenue consumer. This applies to Exploders and Tawhores.

        On Tauri, the front grilles tend to be black plastic mesh. Sides have plastic blanks where the chrome fender-vents are on civvies. The tailpipes are unadorned — no chrome tips; applies to Explorers too.

        If you see a Tahoe with a missing tow-hitch plastic cover, and just metal bumper surface in the aperture, sans hitch hardware, stay back 500 ft and do not pass.

    • 0 avatar
      Thorshammer_gp

      The worst thing about the ones in my area is that our local department has stuck non-reflective beige titles on them, so they’re damn near impossible to see especially at night.

  • avatar

    I just assume every dark-colored Explorer is a cop nowadays.

  • avatar
    SC5door

    I rarely see anyone that orders the 3.5TT option (with INTERCEPTOR across the front). I mostly see 3.7L’s rolling down the line.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      My city of 6000 people and all of 1.5 sq miles (of which much is a golf course) purchased the 3.5TT option on all their Explorer Interceptors.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        The board must be pleased.

        • 0 avatar
          SC5door

          No kidding. That’s like checking off the option box for the 18″ aluminum wheels (64E) to make it look “pretty”.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          The city is adjacent to I696, The Great American Autobahn. The city police do patrol for $$$ out there. We also have the highest milage rate in Oakland County, MI, with a median home value now north of $300K. Apparently, the city has some cash to throw around.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I read just a couple days ago some people think Detroit will improve massively if they rip the I375 highway out of the middle of it. No word on where those cars traveling on it every day will go instead.

            It seems implied they just vanish.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            375 only goes about 2-3 miles. It funnels traffic into the east side of downtown. In theory, it could be replaced by a surface street if done right. However, because the people of Michigan rejected the new road tax the idiots in the state capital put on the ballot, the 375 project has been postponed indefinitely.

            There are big employers (GM, Deloitte, Blue Cross, Marriott, among others) that don’t want the freeway removed either.

          • 0 avatar
            A strolling player

            I-375 is barely a mile long. Last I heard it was the shortest signed interstate in the system. It could easily be replaced with a surface street without a huge impact on traffic.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “It seems implied they just vanish.”

            When major highways are removed, that’s exactly what happens. Traffic is like a gas that expands or contracts to fill the available space.

            Freeway teardowns have proven to be successful in cities such as Portland, San Francisco and Seoul. Remove the right road, and you can end up with redevelopment and renewal.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Removing 375 would fine. The important thing is making sure traffic can flow smoothly onto Jefferson and Gratiot.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The Seattle Police’s 3.7 Explorers are more than fast enough to enable reckless police driving.

      Two days ago outside my downtown Seattle building I saw a cop responding to a call, lights and sirens on, in a Crown Vic. His driving was textbook — fast between intersections, slowing down to maybe 25 mph at each intersection in case of wayward cars or pedestrians, then back on it.

      Then I heard another siren. Almost immediately a 3.7 Explorer blasted by on the wrong side of the street at what looked to be in excess of 70 mph. This is on a busy downtown street with visibility at intersections mostly blocked by tall buildings. That officer is lucky he’s not the star of a video showing him running over a little kid.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Could always tell the Plymouth Furys that the Toronto Police drove throughout the early/mid 70’s by the location of their amber ‘running’ lights.

    And for those of you in Southern Ontario, we need to start a petition to get the Toronto Police to return to their traditional yellow police cruisers.

    These were the Big Yellow Taxi(s) “that took away my old man” in Joni Mitchell’s hit of the same name (they paved paradise and put up a parking lot).

    • 0 avatar
      TCragg

      Yellow was a very popular colour for municipal police cruisers in Ontario before about 1985. Aside from Metro Toronto, London, Chatham, Barrie, Kingston, and many others had yellow cruisers. A few other cities in Canada also had some variation of yellow. By about 1990, yellow was gone and most municipal forces had moved to blue and white, white, or black and white.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        The OPP reverted to black and white as that was their ‘historically traditional’ colour.

        Toronto Police converted to the terrible ‘white’ colour as a ‘cost saving’ move. They claimed that the yellow paint was more expensive!

  • avatar

    The use of ANY stealth vehicles for traffic stops is 100% wrong. Lights inside a vehicle or behind the grill that are not obvious when not lit can be faked by anyone. There have been too many cases of robberies, rapes, car jackings, etc. when people stop for FAKE police vehicles. These stealth vehicles should be prohibited for traffic duty by law.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      If you are pulled over by an unmarked car that looks suspicious, you always have the option of calling 911 and asking the dispatcher to verify that the officer is real or send a marked car.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        You have the option, but calling 911 instead of stopping right freaking now pretty much guarantees a whole handful of tickets for your troubles.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          I’d much rather get an extra ticket than be robbed by a fake officer.

          http://www.kxxv.com/story/31209522/local-man-beaten-robbed-by-fake-police-officers
          http://www.9news.com/news/crime/man-robbed-assaulted-by-police-impersonators/42884647
          http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/james-blackman-fake-cop-227045101.html
          http://www.wbbjtv.com/2016/01/15/deputies-search-for-man-who-reportedly-posed-as-officer-robbed-woman-during-fake-traffic-stop/

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            If the fake cop at least took the time to dress up like RoboCop, I will be happy to robbed.

        • 0 avatar
          thatsiebguy

          Hit your hazards so they know you see them and call dispatch to confirm an unmarked is pulling you over. I don’t know about state troopers in BFE, but I know city cops usually have to call in violators before they initiate a stop. As long as you’re not trying to evade them or put the officer in danger, they can’t do anything to you (nothing that will stick anyway). If they bitch at you, just tell them to confirm your story with dispatch.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      The other day in traffic me, a blue Camaro and silver Mustang were zipping about, nothing dangerous just the standard game of follow the leader thru various open holes in much slower traffic. Then the Camaro bolted off as is to prove he was the fastest… I decided my current speed was adequate and let him go. However Mustang gave chase – complete with red and blue flashing LIGHTS! This undercover cop clearly baited the Camaro. The car had dark tinted windows, a hood scoop, big chrome exhaust and Cobra badges. It was about the most non-cop car I had ever seen, there was NO clue it was law enforcement, no special tags, no antennas, nothing but flashing lights in the grill.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        End of the month?

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        Indiana State Police ran several Camaro’s and Mustangs for quite some time, it’s honestly nothing new. They also run a fleet of plane jane F150’s and RAM 1500’s that say “Indiana Department of Transportation” in construction zones.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          Didn’t CHP run Camaros as pursuit cars for decades? I feel like I’ve seen pursuit Camaros before.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Nope. The CHP got a dozen ’79 pursuit Camaros but almost all blew their engines or pistons I believe. Some twice. Ultimately they couldn’t hop the center median without extensive damage, so they were done.

            Then the CHP put another dozen, all white ’02 Camaros into service to sneak up on speeding big rigs.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Maybe I’m thinking of Fox body Mustangs. Though I swear I’ve seen pictures of 3rd gen Camaros in police livery.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            RCMP in the lower Mainland BC patrolling TransCanada Highway 1 used to run Camaro’s and Mustangs. I don’t think they do that anymore since I haven’t seen one in decades.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            We had some 4th gen Camaro RCMP interceptors, with the six-speed manual and the 350 LT1/LS1.

            c2.staticflickr.com/2/1087/1459206230_72e0720cea_z.jpg?zz=1

            I can’t recall ever seeing a 3rd gen here.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I once had a cop in a totally unmarked Maxima (property seizure?) try several times to goad me into racing him. I don’t street race though.

        The only reason I figured out it was a police car is because he eventually got a 3-Series to take the bait.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Maine has a whole fleet of completely unmarked Mustangs. Only giveaway – dark tinted windows. If you see one doing 70 in the right lane, do not pass…

        When Chevy really made cop cars, they had a bunch of unmarked Camaro.

    • 0 avatar
      apl

      Could not agree more. Stealth and unmarked vehicles should be banned from traffic and patrol details, for the safety of officers & civilians. Stealth and unmarked vehicles are an extreme hazard for those deaf or hard of hearing motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians, whom rely on readily seeing emergency lights, i.e. roof mounted light bar, not the easily obstructed hidden emergency lights. Ironically, this new mind set of Hide the Police Vehicle’ by law enforcement just made the ‘evil job’ of law enforcement imposters easier.

  • avatar
    mmreeses

    “Indiana State Police ran several Camaro’s”

    The Illinois State Police used to fly a Cessna plane to scout/call in speeders. (think that it’s been cut).

    My brother got a ticket during his college days because of one. ironically he’s a cop now.

    • 0 avatar
      ktm

      Can confirm. Back in my college days I, along with 7 others with more behind me, was popped on I-74 heading back to school (Purdue) by a plane. I crested a small hill and there were a handful of troopers, each one with a 2 to 3 cars in queue. An officer would then partially step out into the freeway and point you over.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Yup, Maine does this all summer long. New Hampshire too. Along with the ever popular one cop with laser on the overpass and 5-6 buddies lined up on the onramp. There is a great spot for that one near my place on I-95. Bridge is just past the crest of a hill so you can’t see the cop until you pop over. Luckily the onramp for me is the one they line up on, and I have to go over that bridge to get there.

      Though oddly, State Police speed enforcement tends to be all or nothing. You almost never see just a single car pulled over. If you see one, he usually has lots of friends nearby. And I don’t find it excessive – given the easy pickings of idiot tourists, they often leave the locals alone. I was nailed dead to rights a couple years ago, after getting close enough to see my plates he pulled the [email protected] beside me – who I was passing…

  • avatar
    Delta9A1

    The new clear, low-profile LED light bars on the white Explorers are almost impossible to see at night or in bad light, so this change will not be too much of an additional advantage. Here in Vancouver BC, the city traffic police have an unmarked silver Uplander minivan, an unmarked 1990’s teal blue Silverado pick-up with a cap, and numerous new unmarked F-150’s. Add those to the unmarked RCMP (highway patrol) Dodge Caravans and Maxima’s, and the commute home is now way less fun. Then again, we could be like Hawaii, where the police seem to be able to use their own car, of any model they choose. Looks cool on TV, less so when testing your rental cars performance.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Delta9A1 – I’ve seen Minivans on the TransCanada out of Hope. I’ve seen various unmarked pickups as well as multiple marked crewcab pickups in Northern BC. Suburbans and Tahoes are as common as Explorers and Taurus’s. Our town has several 4×2 Tahoes both markered and unmarked. Most of the vehicles on rural patrols are easy to spot. The winch/aftermarket bumpers all look the same and I’ve only seen one non-police Tahoe/Suburban with a winch.

    • 0 avatar
      multicam

      Yes but in Hawaii they have to put blue lights on top of their cars that are always on. You learn to spot them pretty quickly.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    I thought the tint “brow” had been officially declared passé — didn’t know Ford was holding out on the Explorer line. In fact, I thought I’ve seen civilian examples post-mid-cycle refresh so-equipped. (I thought all the cars had lost them a few years back when the rest of the industry seemed to drop-kick that feature.)

    Why (besides bean-counting) did the automakers get rid of those, anyway?

  • avatar

    >>>First, Ford dropped the long-serving Crown Victoria police cruiser, whose telltale headlights could be spotted from the moon,

    Exaggeration, Mr. Willems. They ARE visible from the international space station.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Light sensor make blue work at night. Red during the day.

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    In trendy east and west coast cities, not that many new ford and chrysler products on the road. So, when you see a newer one, it is often a cop. Easy.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    On the subject of cop cars, am I the only one who’d like him some Caprice with the 6.0?

  • avatar
    jimbob457

    Gotta luv Ford. They know how to serve lawmen.

  • avatar
    Higheriq

    Here in my southern town, the local cops are know to drive whatever they confiscate: late model Caddys, Silverados, Yukons (I guess because they aren’t Tahoes), and believe it or not, Challengers. This is in addition to the standard Chargers and Tauri. Obviously they enjoy keeping the citizenry confused.

  • avatar
    npaladin2000

    Oh look, it’s still got those special “cop steelie” style wheels. Who needs to look at the roof?


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