The pursuit-rated Ford F-150 Police Responder first arrived in 2017 and law enforcement agencies around North America swiftly adopted it, keen on its off-road and towing capability. Now, a new version of the Police Responder, based on the 2021 F-150, is on the way. With a higher top speed and an automatic four-wheel-drive setting for its transfer case, the 2021 Police Responder should be more adaptable to a variety of patrol situations.
The 2021 F-150 pursuit vehicle now has a top speed of 120 miles per hour (197 kilometers per hour), up from 100 mph (161 km/h) on the outgoing Police Responder. A buck twenty might not sound like much – most modern midsize sedans can hit that speed, to say nothing of headline-grabbing sports cars and exotics – but it should still be enough for the majority of freeway pursuits. The 2021 Police Responder also adds the same torque-on-demand transfer case as the Raptor, with an automatic four-wheel-drive setting that will add traction and convenience in nasty weather or when the pursuit goes through varied terrain.
The Police Responder pickup has one helluva powertrain that enables that performance. A 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 comes standard, with 400 horsepower and 500 pound-feet (298 kilowatts and 678 newton-meters) heading to the wheels via a 10-speed automatic gearbox. That’s up over the old pickup’s 375 hp and 470 lb-ft (280 kW and 637 Nm). Like its predecessor, the 2021 F-150 Police Responder gets the FX4 off-road package, but Ford opted for a revised all-terrain tire on the new truck. The Blue Oval claims the new Goodyear Wrangler Enforcer rubber can withstand sustained driving at that new top speed without sacrificing off-road traction.
The F-150 Police Responder also gets a few cool tech upgrades unique to the law enforcement vehicle. Although it comes standard with automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, there’s a button high on the dash that temporarily deactivates the system for close pursuits and pit maneuvers. A special engine-idle feature allows the driver to remove the ignition key and lock the doors without cutting power to the lights and siren, if need be. And cloud-connected Sync 4 infotainment comes standard, bringing over-the-air updates to the pickup.
The Same, But Different
Like other Ford law enforcement vehicles, the F-150 Police Responder comes with revised seat bolsters for easier entry and exit when wearing protective gear, and its darker interior color will withstand daily abuse better as well. A center console delete makes space for a variety of upfits, which Ford will happily help arrange. A standard towing capacity of 7,000 pounds and available cap of 11,000 pounds join a payload rating of 2,030 pounds, more than enough for most regular law enforcement activities.
Like its immediate predecessor, the 2021 Ford F-150 Police Responder should offer the kind of versatile, on- and off-road performance that many rural and backcountry government agencies need. It’s made better by a few technological improvements, but as we learned in our time with the civilian F-150, it’s still likely the same basic goodness overall, repackaged with modern features and styling. The 2021 F-150 Police Responder will be built at the Kansas City Assembly Plant and arrives in fleets this fall.