Many of today’s police vehicles are equipped with push bumpers that are utilized for various purposes, such as pushing abandoned or disabled vehicles off the road, or clearing the road of damaged vehicles at the site of a traffic accident. On today’s police vehicles, perhaps even more popular reasons for the push bumper are as a mounting location for lights and siren (crowded under-hood) and to protect the expensive front fascia and coolers from low-speed fender benders.
In recent years, police departments have been outfitting their vehicles with wraparound bumpers, predominantly used when implementing the Precision Immobilization Technique (PIT). The PIT maneuver is used to safely end a police pursuit by forcing the fleeing vehicle from its course of travel. The following companies offer a broad spectrum of public safety equipment that includes push bumpers, wraparounds and grille attachments.
Crown North America
Crown North America is a World Class integrator of vehicle components for automotive OEMs and fleets, for their programs and the installation of fleet-specific components. Crown North America has a 50-year history of successful automotive products and program launches. They offer many products (installed and as parts) for the Dodge Charger, Ford CVPI and Ford PI Sedan and PI Utility.
One of the most significant of these is the MOPAR/Setina push bumper, a combination of steel brackets and aluminum uprights and crossbars. According to Lee Calkins, OEM Product Manager with Crown NA, they upfit components for Dodge, offline from the factory, but under the factory umbrella.
Since Crown NA is technically an extension of the Dodge factory, the MOPAR/Setina push bumper is the first push bumper to be fully compliant with important Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) required of the automakers. All of the Whelen, Havis and Setina upfit parts installed by Crown NA have been crash tested for FMVSS compliance.
For the push bumper, the FMVSS standard involves crashworthiness and airbag compatibility. Crown NA used the crash test information to develop for the Charger Pursuit the MOPAR/Setina push bumper (and mounting) in a way to work with the airbag deployment sensors.
Since 1977, Dee Zee has been a leading provider of truck accessories, offering an extensive line of OEM products for major automobile companies that include Ford, Chrysler, Honda, Subaru, Toyota, GM and Nissan. The company’s in-house engineers create cutting-edge design software to produce custom-fit applications with the majority of products made and packaged in their Des Moines, Iowa facility.
Dedicated to promoting a cleaner environment, Dee Zee uses eco-friendly manufacturing processes for a reduced carbon footprint, and works with vendors who participate in the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. Dee Zee Push Bumpers are tested to 2,000 pounds of force, providing optimum protection to the front of the vehicle.
The center sections are made of heavy-duty aluminum with a textured black-powder coat finish, and are equipped with heavy-duty rubber bumpers. All braces are made of steel with an exclusive NRT™ powder coat that prevents rust creep, and are designed with an integrated channel for mount light and other accessories without drilling.
Dee Zee Side Guards are sold separately and can be added to any of the center push bar sections, providing additional vehicle protection. They are made of heavy-duty coated and powder coat steel with reinforced steel gussets. The side guards are designed to assist in PIT maneuvers and in pushing disabled vehicles off the road, with minimal damage to the patrol car.
Founded in 1978, Go Industries is a leading manufacturer of push bumpers for law enforcement agencies. All Go Industries products are manufactured in state-of-the-art facilities utilizing computer-controlled manufacturing equipment and robotic welding machines. With over 35 years of experience in metal fabrication, the company offers a broad range of Grille Guards designed specifically for the law enforcement industry.
Go Industries’ Rancher Grille Guard is a one-piece, fully welded unit that provides maximum front end protection for trucks and SUVs. The Rancher is constructed of 1.9-inch, 14-gauge steel tubing and ¼-inch laser-cut steel uprights, and the center is 16-gauge steel with ½-inch punched holes. This one-piece, fully welded grille guard is designed specifically for each vehicle model, and the no-drill mounting bracket system utilizes existing holes in the frame for extra strength and rigidity.
The built-in wide “Step Plate” allows easy access to the hood and engine, and provides extra space for a sure-footed step. A durable, rust-free, electrostatic-applied black-powder coat finish resists corrosion, ding, and scratches, and is protected by a three-year warranty on materials and workmanship, and one year on the finish.
In February, Go Industries introduced the Enforcement Series Pit Bumper for the Ford Interceptor SUV ’12-’13. Combining rugged durability and style, this fully welded grille guard with bolt on “pit” wings comes complete with quarter-inch uprights (rubber strips are preinstalled). The ring portion uses 1.9-inch 14-gauge steel tubing for maximum protection, and the heavy-duty 3/16-inch flat shelf allows mounting of any speaker or siren that may be required.
The “pit” wings are constructed out of 1/8-inch outer wall and 3/16”-inch top and bottom steel plate. The Ford Interceptor SUV Pit Bumpers rugged installation requires some minor trimming of the bumper. Designed specifically for PIT maneuvers, the bumper comes in a black semi-gloss powder coat, and all necessary brackets and hardware are included.
Go Rhino! has over 20 years of experience in the development, design, and manufacturing of quality accessories for SUVs and trucks. Their product line is extensive and includes sidebars, bed accessories, side steps, front guards, and exhaust tips. All Go Rhino! products are custom designed for the vehicle application, ensuring ease of installation while enhancing the look of the vehicle. Heavy-duty steel is used throughout, with a tough chip and corrosion-resistant powder coat finish.
Go Rhino! offers a Heavy-Duty Wraparound Guard that is ideal for PIT maneuvers and provides extra protection from deer and other road hazards. With its patented unique built-in step, this wraparound guard features a no-holes-drilling bracket system and custom fit for easy installation. It comes with a thick center plate for mounting speakers and warning lights, and its welded one-piece construction provides optimal strength.
Mike DeFord, Marketing Director at Go Rhino! said that their HD wraparound has repeatedly proven itself in two major areas since its introduction, the first being the added protection to the vehicle. “Our HD wraparound protects many of the common pieces of the car that are damaged in PIT maneuvers. Items such as fenders, lights and hoods are often untouched, thanks to our HD wraparounds. No damage means the car stays on the street in service and saves money on repair costs.”
The second, and more important, area in which the HD wraparound bumper excels is enhanced safety. The optimum vehicle protection offered by the HD wraparound ultimately results in fewer serious injuries and saved lives.
DeFord pointed out that in addition to PIT style bumpers, the company also manufactures a complete line of standard push bumpers that offer protection during PIT maneuvers. The Road Defender 5000 Series features heavy-duty steel construction for superior grille bumper protection, and are cross-plate pre-drilled for easy mounting of additional equipment. The bumpers provide increased light visibility and speaker volume, and do not interfere with the vehicle’s SRS airbag system. Optional brush guards are available for extra protection from deer and other road hazards.
A veteran-owned small business incorporated in 2001, Ibis Tek, LLC specializes in the development of transparent armor and accessory products for tactical and combat vehicles. With over 200 years of combined military service, the company provides high-quality, reliable products for use in military, government and commercial applications. Ibis Tek’s Lightweight Front Protective Bumper (LFPB) is their newest push bumper product that attaches to the vehicle frame, requires no modifications, and does not affect vehicle handling, tire wear, or gas mileage.
Made of 6061 T6 aluminum, the LFPB is lightweight and can mount to an existing vehicle frame without altering air bag deployment. With detailed step-by-step instructions and custom-fit kits specific to each make of vehicle, the LFPB is easy to install. The powder coat is available in any color at no additional charge. When a PIT maneuver is performed, the LFPB protects the vehicle, as well as the engine and cooling components, from damage. It allows disabled vehicles to be safely and easily pushed out of oncoming traffic and reduces damage from animal strikes.
Rachel Berglund, Vice President of Commercial Products for Ibis Tek, said the creation of the bumper for their police vehicles originated from the front protective bumpers used on Humvees during the first Iraq conflict. “We have transferred the engineering and product line from many of the military vehicles into the police arena and manufacture each of these items right here in Butler, Penn. These bumpers were tested at MGA Research Corp in Wisconsin and they are certified with the air bag deploying per the OEM stated speed,” Berglund said.
Jotto Desk offers a full line of high-quality, bumper-to-bumper solutions for police vehicles that includes computer mounts, docking stations, and push bumpers for both sedans and SUVs. The sedan bumpers are designed for the “push” of disabled vehicles, while the SUV bumpers have wraps that offer side protection, as well as protection from deer strikes and other road hazards. All of their Sedan Push Bumpers utilize the same “upright push pieces” with different mounting brackets and install with very limited modifications to an OEM bumper, helping the vehicle to retain its resale value.
According to company Vice President, Curt Hatton, Jotto Force SUV Push Bumpers are truly unique to the public safety industry, providing extreme duty protection for grille, bumper and fenders. Like the Sedan Push Bumpers, the SUV bumper utilizes the same upright push piece and “no modification” installation. Modular in design, the bumper “wings” bolt onto the universal push section, and are fully self-supporting.
“Their strength comes from their boxed-in design, and do not require any support brackets to be mounted behind the headlight buckets or the side panel trim,” Hatton said. “Competitor models that require this give a false sense of strength, when in reality, all of the impact/force is simply transferred to that mounting point. A point never intended to provide near that kind of support and unnecessary with the Jotto Force SUV Push Bumpers.” Jotto Force Push Bumpers are designed to fit the Ford Police Interceptor Utility vehicle and the Chevy Tahoe.
Lund Industries, Inc.
For over 30 years, Lund Industries, Inc. has been a nationwide leader in the design, manufacturing, installation, and distribution of public-safety vehicular equipment to Federal, State and Local agencies. Their product line includes consoles, computer mounting systems, trunk storage solutions, gun racks, and bumper systems. Lund’s patented PASS® Police Audio-Visual Safety System is a specially designed system that mounts the siren speaker(s) in the upright of their bumper system, greatly improving sound on the ground plane in front of the vehicle.
PASS® is a hybrid system that includes push bumper, dual 100-watt siren speakers built into the upright, front-facing LEDs, and side facing/intersection LEDs. PASS® solves speaker mounting issues on new vehicles because the speaker is no longer mounted behind the bumper or fascia. The dual speakers can be used together or separately, and with Lund’s trademark design for the siren speaker, sound waves exit the speaker and turn 90 degrees. The multiple lighting options for front and side LEDs can be incorporated into the system, and an optional wiring harness allows easy installation.
Mike Tobin, National Sales Manager for Lund Industries, stated that the company is currently working on designs for several wraparound PASS® bumper systems and expects to introduce them in 2013. While Tobin acknowledged the wraparound design offers many benefits, there are some trade-offs as well.
“Many agencies buy the wraparound style to help protect the front of the vehicle in animal strikes. Other agencies buy the wraparound styles of bumpers specifically to assist them in PIT maneuvers. Others buy them for additional protection in minor accidents or because they like the ‘look’ of them. Some of the trade-offs include increased purchase cost and additional weight to the front end of the vehicle,” Tobin said.
Pro-gard Products LLC
Since 1968, Pro-gard has been a leading manufacturer of innovative, reliable law-enforcement vehicle equipment, with customers across the United States as well as in foreign markets. Their product line includes prisoner transport partitions and containment systems, ballistic door panels, custom gun racks, and push bumpers. Their wraparound-style XPush Bumpers feature an oversize design that provides full coverage for the front grille and headlight area against animal strikes and debris.
The XPush Bumper is constructed of lightweight, yet highly durable aluminum that is impact resistant. The black-powder coated finish offers optimum corrosion protection against environmental conditions and salt spray. Designed to fit around the contours of various police package vehicles, it can be mounted to the vehicle frame using existing OEM holes and slots, requiring no additional holes to be drilled.
XPush Bumpers are made from stamped, heavy-duty aluminum that is strong enough to endure impacts yet lightweight enough to not hamper vehicle gas mileage. Solid-state construction eliminates weak points that can give way and lead to scuffs and scratches on the vehicle bumper and fender.
Upon mounting, XPush Bumpers do not compromise the vehicle’s frame or structure, and will not throw the vehicle off balance when performing PIT maneuvers. In addition to providing an additional layer of protection to the engine and cooling components from obstacles in the vehicle’s path, Pro-gard XPush Bumpers will not inhibit airbag deployment when the vehicle is struck at speeds over the OEM mph.
“Our XPush Bumper is designed for fleets that need a much more rugged alternative to brush-guard type options,” said Mike Navarro, General Manager for Pro-gard. “This bumper is manufactured out of seamless, cold-rolled aluminum. This eliminates connection points that tend to buckle first upon impact, providing a larger, continuous surface during PIT maneuvers.” Certified for PIT maneuvers, XPush Bumpers are available for all Police Package Vehicles.
Since the founding of the company in 1962, Setina has become one of the most respected names in the law enforcement industry, specializing in police vehicle protection. Committed to developing lasting relationships with their customers, Setina’s product line includes partitions, weapons systems, pursuit push bumpers, and K9 systems. From receiving the raw materials to the finished product, nearly all of the manufacturing processes are performed at the company’s state-of-the-art facility in Olympia, Wash.
As an industry leader in the design of Pursuit Push Bumpers, Setina offers five different models, all of which deliver optimum value and performance. Available in High-Strength Steel or Aircraft-Grade Aluminum, Setina Pursuit Push Bumpers feature an exclusive three-stage painting process that includes media-blast metal preparation, environmentally friendly zinc-free primer coat, and automotive-specification powder coat. A variety of lighting packages are offered, utilizing the latest in LED technology from the recognized leaders in emergency vehicle lighting.
Setina’s PB-5 Fender Wrap is a patented system that is the result of a 50-year relationship with the Washington State Patrol (WSP), one of the pioneering agencies in Emergency Vehicle Operator’s Course (EVOC) training. EVOC provides emergency vehicle operators with the knowledge and skills necessary to safely operate an emergency vehicle in emergency and non-emergency modes.
“Over the years, the development of EVOC products and procedures has grown hand-in-hand through this valued relationship with the WSP,” said Brett Ware, National Sales Manager for Setina. The PB-5 system is designed to protect the front end of law enforcement vehicles during the rigorous demands of patrol, pursuit, and precise maneuvers. Originally produced exclusively for the WSP, the PB5 is now utilized by agencies worldwide.
Susan Geoghegan is a freelance writer living in Naples, Fla. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.