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Hendon Publishing

Police Fleet Expo 2009: Upfitter’s Challenge

The other big part of Track Tech was the Upfitter’s Challenge. Upfitters and police departments from across North America were challenged to put together a complete vehicle—but that vehicle had to be something other than a standard everyday police car. The theme was “upfitting alternative police vehicles” and the upfitters did just that. While walking around the track looking at the vehicles, it was immediately visible how far upfitting has come throughout the years.

The challenge was between 15 totally different, non-traditional vehicles. The dual emphasis was on both the green fleet (hybrid) and alternative retail vehicles pressed into police patrol service. Think Toyota Prius Hybrid, Nissan Altima Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrid for the green cars. Then think Ford Edge, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Honda Ridgeline for the alternative vehicles.

All the entries in this upfitter’s challenge did a remarkable job with custom fabrication of OEM moldings and cutouts to give every piece of equipment the look of OEM integration. The emergency lighting ideas used in these vehicles was nothing short of ingenious, with aftermarket lighting manufacturers really stepping up to provide lights and brackets that can be installed in almost every production vehicle possible.

The key to most of the upfits was a “no holes” installation, which gives the ability to strip and decommission a vehicle much quicker and cleaner than one with holes drilled all over it, not to mention the benefits of higher resale value.

All of these vehicles had unique and innovative solutions for transforming the retail vehicle for police work. All are deserving of special recognition. Much more detail will be available in the next issue, but a Ford Edge prepped by Warnock Fleet-MNStar won the Editor’s Choice Award, and a Chevy Impala in service with the Ottawa, Ontario Police won the Technical Editor’s Award.

Published in Police Fleet Manager, Sep/Oct 2009

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