MA State Police: New Cars Can’t Beat The Crown Victoria
Thursday, January 30, 2014
"The Crown Vic was a workhorse. You could beat it up and it would still come back," said Massachusetts State Police Fleet Administrator Sgt. Mark Caron. Critics of its replacements aren't sure the new police vehicles will garner the same reputation.
Police cars have become police offices
In the case of Ford's Interceptor sedan, a tall officer in full gear has trouble getting in and out of the car. Police cars have become police offices, packed with equipment and technology that can cramp the already small interior of the Interceptor. Most officers roll with a laptop and printer, a rifle and/or shotgun, along with radio, video and radar equipment. Add a partner in the passenger seat and the problem doubles. Also, the Interceptor's rear view mirror offers far less visibility than its decommissioned older brother, the venerable Crown Victoria.
The Interceptor sedan joins the Chevy Impala, Chevy Caprice, and the Dodge Charger on the list of Crown Victoria replacements for city police departments. The Impala has been called underpowered and the Charger, so far, hasn't been able to take the pounding of full-time police work. The Rhode Island State Police have had success with the Caprice, which has the rear-wheel drive and V8 power of the Crown Victoria. While the new vehicles offer many improvements over the Crown Victoria – better gas mileage, more airbags, improved agility –they have a hard act to follow when it comes to spaciousness, endurance, and nostalgia.
After 32 years in production, the last Ford Crown Victoria rolled off the assembly line in 2011. It was bought by a customer in Saudi Arabia; painted white with a tan interior and optional rear seat air conditioning. In its prime, the Crown Victoria accounted for nearly three-fourths of all police vehicles sold. It's body on frame construction made it popular with fleets. Automotive Analyst Aaron Bragman told NPR that the old technology made the Crown Victoria attractive to cops because, if you dent the fender, for example, you can take the fender off, repair it and put it back.
“You couldn’t kill it no matter what you did to it,” said Ford spokesman Octavio Navarro.
"But technology left it behind," added Sgt. Caron.
Faced with a choice between vehicles from Chevy, Dodge and Ford, the Massachusetts State Police settled on the best option for their purposes: The Ford Utility Interceptor that's essentially a Ford Explorer that passed the Police Academy.
"The Utility is a home run for us," Sgt. Caron said.
The department still has some 1,500 Crown Victorias in service. They bought 150 of them in 2011. Within the next six to seven years, however, they'll be gone.
"We're going to save one," Sgt. Caron said.
"We'll use it in parades."
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