What Is An Officer of the Law Driving Today?
Just when you thought you had gotten used to spotting police cruiser headlights in your rearview mirror, Ford is changing the game again! With the introduction of the completely redesigned 2020, Ford Explorer comes the police equivalent: the Explorer Utility Interceptor. Ford is stepping away from selling sedans in the USA and focusing on SUV and trucks. With this comes the SUV for police duty, which many departments have already in their fleets.
Ford has really upped their game when it comes to the new Interceptor. One of the most significant changes, besides the entire vehicle, is the shift from front wheel to rear-wheel biased all-wheel drive. Instead of being pulled around, you now are pushed town in the 2020 Explorer. The 2020 Ford Explorers Utility Interceptor comes standard with all-wheel drive and a whole host of other goodies that the general public does not get in a regular consumer edition Ford Explorer.
The new Interceptor now comes in 3 different engine versions. The first is a regular 3.3 liter naturally aspirated V6 engine. The next step up, and the one Ford really put their heads into is a 3.3-liter non-plug-in hybrid version. The third and final option is their 3.0 liter EcoBoost engine.
Ford has put a lot of focus on the hybrid in a push to make not only Police Interceptors but all of its fleet Green. The image of being more environmentally friendly is an essential part of today’s market. This new hybrid is run off a lithium-ion battery pack that is the size of a small suitcase and stored in the front half of the vehicle not reducing any interior storage space. This hybrid engine is a game changer and more so for police departments. The hybrid uses the battery pack to run the vehicle for 80% of the time. When the battery charge drops below 30%, the gas engine kicks in and takes about 2 minutes to recharge the battery to full capacity. This significantly reduces the amount of idle time for the gas engine. In turn, this reduced idle time substantially reduces the amount of fuel used and emissions from the vehicle.
What citizen wouldn’t like to see their local and state police departments saving money, thus freeing it up to focus more on training or more safety? Where hybrid vehicle technology will impact will be in municipalities fuel and vehicle maintenance budgets. While hybrids initial purchase cost is indeed higher, that can be made up in just fuel cost savings alone. Not to mention that hybrids can go longer between oil changes as the engines aren’t always running or as is often the case, idling, and between the brake pad and rotor changes due to the regenerative braking technology.
The 2020 Explorer Utility comes standard with Bluetooth® hands-free connectivity. Which is a good idea, as we know it is illegal in many states to use a handheld device while operating a motor vehicle. And no one wants Officers’ breaking the law by using their phones while driving.
Only On A Cop Car
The Interceptor Utility is fitted with a welded steel under-carriage device giving it a 75mph rear crash test rating. Plus a stiffer suspension, larger heavy duty brakes, cooling system, and alternator that is needed to run the gamut of electronics police use in their vehicle.
Ford has developed and offers on its Interceptor vehicles a factory-installed Police safety perimeter alarm that uses the blind spot monitoring system and a dashboard display to detect any threats moving towards or away from the rear of the vehicle. Alerting the officer with an audible tone, rolling up the windows, locking the doors and activating the rearview camera. Ford also has ballistic panels as on option for inserts in the front doors to further protect officers from armed assailants.
After test driving each of the 2020 Ford Explorer Utility powertrains available on a police emergency vehicles operations course, it is abundantly clear these are the smart choice for police departments. Start looking in your rearview mirror for a new police Interceptor starting later this year. And remember to pull over when you see those flashing lights. While they are not after you, they may be on the way to assist someone that is important to you or someone else who is in need.
Words by Corporal Matthew Rihl,
Photos by William West Hopper
Corporal Matthew Rihl is a Field Training Officer and member of the Honor Guard with a local Virginia police department.
Corporal Matthew Rihl has served the public for 15-years with a local county police department in Virginia. In addition, he is also a Field Training Officer and a member of the Honor Guard. Officer Matt is a vital member of the LGBT Fallen Heroes Fund, which its sole purpose is to honor surviving partners and family members of LGBT police, fire, EMS and the military who have been killed in the line of duty during a special ceremony during National Police Memorial Week every year in Washington, DC.