The City of Chicago’s police department recently placed an order for 500 new police vehicles. With the Ford Crown Victoria out of production, the Chicago Police Department obviously noted that car as a non-starter. The Dodge Charger Police Vehicle was not chosen, nor was the Chevrolet Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle. The Chicago PD opted for the Chicago-built 2013 Ford Interceptor, a mix of recently introduced Explorers and Tauruses.
New Cars For CPD
Ford says this is the largest commitment to the new Police Interceptor fleet so far, although 1200 separate agencies have placed Interceptor orders. Ford has been selling the new Taurus and Explorer for a while, but the police-ready versions only began exiting the factory in January.
The Chicago Police Department is now 177 years old. Officers weren’t mounted until 1906. Two years later, Chicago’s force was equipped with three automobiles. Presently, the CPD patrols 237 square miles in an attempt to serve and protect more than 2.8 million people. This procurement of Ford Interceptors will cost somewhere in the region of $15 million, approximately $30,000 per vehicle.
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Handling, ruggedness, interior capacity, and durability are major concerns when any jurisdiction acquires new patrol cars. In the case of the Taurus, Ford focuses on playing up the sedan’s fuel efficiency advantages, particularly when compared with Ford’s own outgoing Canadian-built Crown Victoria. With the vast number of miles driven by a vast number of cars, the advantages encountered by a police department aren’t measured in cents per mile.
The Old Crown Victorias
In city driving, the CPD’s aging Crown Victorias are rated at 16 miles per gallon. Even the turbocharged, 365-horsepower, all-wheel drive Taurus will do one mpg better than the Crown Vic. Moreover, the naturally-aspirated 3.5L V6 in the all-wheel drive Explorer, America’s quintessential SUV (that’s now a crossover) will match the Crown Vic in the city while offering its driver 290 horsepower. The Crown Victoria, you’ll recall, struggled to prove it had 239 horsepower.
Let’s not kid ourselves: the difference between any modern police vehicle and the new Taurus Police Interceptor is not akin to a change from F-150 to Prius. In fact, the Dodge Charger, in basic V6 form, is a 19-mpg car. No Ford Police Interceptor is rated higher. The Chevrolet Caprice PPV? In coveted V8 form, Chevrolet doesn’t expect to see better than 15 miles per gallon, worse than the old Ford Crown Victoria, albeit with way more power.
There was, of course, another class of potential police vehicle contenders that the Chicago PD may have actually ignored during the procurement process. The police-only Carbon Motors E7 might be worth waiting for, but there’s no denying it involves waiting. New York’s Fashion Week made use of a Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG in 2011. Although Chattanooga and Volkswagen are famous for coming together on the new Passat, Chattanooga made news by acquiring a diesel-powered Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen police vehicle. The rear-wheel drive Hyundai Genesis sedan is used in Korea.
What About Other Countries?
In Horsham South, Sussex, the Kia Soul has, by times, been the police car of choice. Still across the pond in the West Midlands, the Mitsubishi i MiEV has proven to be the car of choice… for very specific police responsibilities. And in Humberside, where high-speed pursuits were previously taken care of by a Subaru Impreza WRX, it is now the job of the Lexus ISF to stretch its legs.
Still in the UK, a 271-horsepower Jaguar XF diesel isn’t an unusual policing device. In southern Europe, we all know how famous Italy is for purchasing a Lamborghini Gallardo police car (is that why they’re having financial issues?), although the Gallardo’s main job is retrieving and delivering organs for transplant. On the opposite end of the vehicle market from supercars, wouldn’t minivans make awesome police vehicles, just from an interior configuration standpoint?
Naturally, for the Chicago PD to make use of any of the above would have been a bit of a stretch, comfortable and efficient and stylish as the Jaguar XF diesel would have been. But Ford’s stated emphasis on fuel efficiency may be a bit of a stretch. There have to be other reasons, like the Taurus’s Volvo-inspired safety features, SYNC, and the sculpting that’s gone into making the rear seat roomier for perps.
In the end, the mayor of Chicago was very clear in why he wanted his police department to be using Ford Police Interceptors. See, Ford builds the Police Interceptors at its Torrence Avenue plant in Hegewisch, on the southern side of the south side of Chicago, totally restricting the need for car movers, or at least limiting the cost. “We not only have the cars built here in Chicago, designed here in Chicago, we’re going to put our money where our mouth is. We’re going to order the cars here from this plant,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. Is it possible, that politics might have played a role? And in Chicago of all places?
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