Are We All Still Deciding?
2011 was the final month of production for the iconic Crown Victoria Police
Interceptor. While many mourned the loss of arguably the best overall police
vehicle of its time, not everybody has gotten over its departure. Some didn’t
believe it was being dropped. Some purchased extras of the last model year so
they could watch what other agencies decided.
years’ Police Fleet Expo in Kansas City, there was a common theme running
through all three Agency Workshops: “So
what are you guys replacing your Crown Vics with?”
though we are three years into the NextGen police vehicles, some agencies (no matter
what size) are still undecided, and seem to not even want to make a choice. The
last year of CVPIs are getting long in the tooth. It is time to make a
process is not difficult. Get a few of each model and send them out for field
evaluations. Simple as that. All three OEMs make really good police vehicles, and
the amount of dedicated police technology and engineering is unprecedented. So,
why the reluctance or hesitation?
reason may be that the testing of these new vehicles can sometimes be difficult
when your test officer pool is biased. Biased by what? A phrase coined by Sevierville,
Tenn. Capt. Matt Ayers describes the bias as “The Crown Vic mindset.”
older generation officers were very happy with their CVPI. Many prefer to drive
them until the keys are pried out of their hands. We all know of officers
keeping their CVPIs well beyond the intended duty cycle. So what effect does
this have on the testing of the new generation vehicles? It is difficult to
send the new generation of police vehicles out for some unbiased, constructive
front line testing when the testers have “Crown
vehicle design and safety standards will always drive police vehicle design.
These next-generation police vehicles must comply with a different set of
safety standards. For example, the NextGen cars don’t have CVPI-style skinny A,
B, and C pillars. You can’t have increased occupant safety standards without
some reinforcement. The CVPI had nowhere near the safety systems that today’s vehicles
do. The boron steel and high-strength steel cages these new vehicles have now
will save lives but yet some still resist them.
Crown Vic mindset that some officers have needs to change. We can’t continue to
ignore the benefits of these new vehicles: much safer; better fuel mileage;
better acceleration, braking and cornering; fewer greenhouse emissions; lower
total cost of ownership. Unfortunately, officers continue to get injured or die
in vehicle related incidents, some of which would likely have a different
outcome (including no collision at all) if the officers were driving any of the
newer generation products.
their part, the police-fleet management staff needs to be sure their new
vehicle testing program is fair and equitable for both the older officers
transitioning out of the legacy CVPIs and the newer officers who are well
versed in technology. Face it, newer officers adapt significantly quicker than
someone who started their career when Adam 12 was in prime time.
fleet purchases are going to have to serve the new officers who have grown up
with a smartphone and a vehicle that meets those current safety requirements.
We owe it to these officers and their families to get our officers into the
safest vehicle that fits our needs and deployment.
no direct replacement for the CVPI, so think out of the box. Get a few of each:
sedans, crossovers, SUVs. Test them in full uniform and by officers of all
sizes and both genders. There are some agencies starting to decommission their
first order of NextGen vehicles, so don’t let your agency get too far behind.
Published in Police Fleet Manager, May/Jun 2014
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