One more way to keep the bad guys in check.
Ford is a dominant force in law enforcement, selling 43,000 police vehicles – or about 60 percent of the market – last year alone. “We are the leader in the police segment,” says Michele Bartlett, Ford’s manager of commercial and government fleet sales. Now the automaker hopes to expand its presence even further with the introduction of the 2018 F-150 Police Responder, the first pursuit-rated pickup truck.
Based on the Ford F-150 FX4 off-road package, and sold only as a SuperCrew with a 5.5-foot bed, the Police Responder packs a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine good for 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. Along with a ten-speed automatic transmission, that’s enough to get the truck to a top speed of 100 miles per hour. If you’re thinking, “My car can easily exceed 100 mph,” allow us to remind you of the old saying: You can’t outrun a Motorola.
Other mechanical changes for the truck focus on durability for long, high-speed pursuits; that’s the difference between the existing F-150 Special Service Vehicle and this Police Responder. For instance, there are cooling-system changes, larger brake calipers with higher-performance brake pads, underbody skid plates, tough 18-inch wheels wrapped in all-terrain tires, a thicker front anti-roll bar, and a 240-amp alternator.
“We know that our friends in law enforcement rely on these vehicles as mobile offices,” says Bartlett, so engineers made sure there was plenty of space inside the F-150, too. A column shifter is standard to create more space for laptops and other communications gear, and there is no center seat to further improve room. The seats are wrapped in heavy-duty cloth, have smaller bolstering to accommodate bulky utility belts, and have integrated steel plates to prevent stabbings from rear-seat passengers. Those rear seats, as well as the flooring, are vinyl, enabling with Ford calls, “easy cleanup.”
Being a pickup truck, the Police Responder will also be able to tow 7,000 pounds. The company says that many fleet customers were asking for a tougher, pursuit-rated truck, specifically rural sheriff’s departments and border-patrol agencies.
Ford’s engineers work with a special team of 26 law-enforcement consultants from the U.S. and Canada to help develop the company’s police vehicles. The company sells three other pursuit-rated vehicles: The Explorer-based Police Interceptor Utility, the Taurus-based Police Interceptor Sedan, and the Fusion-based Police Responder Hybrid Sedan. Ford also offers Special Service Vehicle models of the Expedition, F-150, and Taurus, as well as a Transit-based Prisoner Transit Vehicle.
The truck will be put through the rigorous Michigan State Police and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department police-vehicle tests this fall and will be available to fleet buyers in spring 2018.