The Police Fleet Expo – Southwest was opened by Fort Worth
Police Chief Jeffrey Halstead. During times of great change—like the current
transition to new police cars—his advice was to let those most affected by the
change be the most involved in the change. Top executives should support the
specialists in their staff, but let them do their job. With “resisted” change,
avoid top-down decisions.
Ford kicked off the Vehicle Manufacturer Dialogues with a
report on the mix of the Police Interceptor Sedan and Utility. From the first
deliveries in March 2012 through February 2013, the ratio of Sedans to
Utilities was 55 percent Sedan,
45 percent Utility. Ford reported that taken together, these two vehicles
account for 53 percent of the police market.
New for 2014, the 3.7L V6 is standard in the PI Sedan. This
engine produces both more power and better fuel economy than the 3.5L V6. Also
new for 2014, a lower front grille is standard on the PI Sedan. All-Wheel Drive
is standard on both the PI Sedan and PI Utility. Front-Wheel Drive is only
available on the now-optional 3.5L V6 in the PI Sedan, and not available on the
PI Utility. New wiring harnesses are available for both vehicles to reduce
Chevrolet’s big news for 2014 was the new steering column
(IP) mounted shifter for the Caprice PPV. The largest of the police sedans, the
Caprice will come standard with a full-length center console mounting plate, an
enhanced police seat, and a front seat-only side curtain airbag (allows full
coverage prisoner partition).
The 2013 Impala will continue as a police package vehicle
thru the 2014 model year. The Impala 9C1 has the lowest initial cost of any
police package vehicle. The Tahoe PPV will have a short 2014 model year to
prepare for the 2015 NextGen Tahoe. The current Tahoe has the lowest repair
cost, the longest service life, and the highest residual value of any police
package vehicle. That gives it the lowest total cost of ownership of any police
For 2014, the Dodge police fleet is mostly a carryover—at
least until mid-year. The Charger Pursuit gets an even smoother-throw column
shifter arc, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, and optional power adjustable
pedals. The police-specific seat has been tweaked for more comfort and the seat
belt receptacle is taller. At about 27 percent of the police market (based on
registration), the Charger Pursuit clearly leads the six-vehicle field of
police package vehicles in market share.
In mid-2014, the Charger Pursuit with the 5.7L V8 will get
the option of All-Wheel Drive.
This is a Rear-Wheel Drive based system—on demand, the front wheels are
engaged. The RAM 1500 4x4 Crew Cab and the Dodge Durango SUV continue as
Special Service Vehicles.
At the Police Fleet Expo, the Agency Networking Sessions are
divided into three groups: Under 50 Vehicles, 50 to 150 Vehicles, and Over 50
Vehicles. In the Large Agency session, the emphasis was the clear trend from
the Ford CVPI to the crossover (Ford PI Utility) and the SUV (Chevy Tahoe PPV).
If the crop of NextGen sedans is considered too small, the option is to go to
bigger vehicles, not upfit less gear or carry less cargo.
In the Right Size the Fleet session, fleet managers reviewed
the Mercury Associates’ Vehicle Allocation Model. This session emphasized: 1)
the cost of pool and under-utilized vehicles are actually higher than fully
used vehicles; 2) high-mileage vehicles should be rotated into low-use
assignments; and 3) the goal for new vehicles should be the smallest and most
economical vehicles that can perform the task.
In the Tablets for Squad Cars session, fleet managers saw
solutions from Brite Computers for the problems of full-size laptops, namely,
pads and tablets (and convertible laptops). With the same computing
capabilities, a tablet: 1) takes up less space in the crowded vehicle; 2) is
easier to install outside of the airbag deployment zone; and 3) allows better
visibility out the windshield.
In the All About Brakes session, Raybestos technicians
explained that pedal pulsation does not come from excessive heat that warps
rotors. Rotors don’t warp. Instead they wear unevenly. The main cause of pedal
pulsation is thickness variation in the rotor. The main cause of thickness
variation is excessive lateral runout of the rotor. This runout allows the
abrasive semi-metallic pads to intermittently touch—and grind—thin spots on the
rotor. The solution is to use a dial indicator to check the runout out on every
rotor every time a rotor is changed, and to star-pattern torque wheels every
time wheels are put back on.
In the Fleet Replacement Program session, Mercury Associates
emphasized the importance of the lifecycle cost analysis. This is an objective
and financially persuasive way to move the focus from initial vehicle cost to
the total cost of ownership. Lifecycle costs are initial cost plus upfitting
cost plus decommission cost plus operating cost minus residual value and all
divided by miles of service life. Also explained was the equally compelling
“operating cost versus time” and “depreciation cost (vehicle value) versus
time” curves—and where they crossed. Replace vehicles on the lowest total cost
portion of the curve.
Bill DeRousse closed the conference with a session on the
importance of year-end reports. Fleet managers must first know all their costs
for all aspects of their operation and then document these for all in police
admin and city/county government to see. We must know actual versus budgets costs
for fuel, parts, labor, outsourced work, and other aspects of operating costs.
Finally, we must run fleet management and fleet maintenance just exactly like a
competitive business. That is our best defense against privatization. You can’t
measure what you don’t measure.
Almost 70 exhibitors, featuring every aspect of fleet
maintenance and fleet management, filled the exhibit hall. Seven companies
picked the Police Fleet Expo – Southwest to unveil new products.
Adamson introduced the HG2 CrossFire License Plate Frame at
the PFE-SW. The HG2 CrossFire is an outward-facing bezel for around either the
front or rear plate. It integrates a state-of-the-art emergency lighting system
designed for maximum visibility with a minimal footprint. The Crossfire
lighting design features optics mounted at grazing angles. The CrossFire
enhances visibility by emitting light onto a broader field of view. The
CrossFire is available in Red, Blue, Amber or White and either solid colors or
split left-right and top-bottom. The CrossFire uses 12 20mm LEDs across the
top-bottom and eight 10mm LEDs on the left-right and has a selection of 20
Other new or recently introduced products from Adamson
include: 3.5-inch Super LED round lights for the Charger Pursuit fog light
bezels; a lower front grille insert for the Ford Police Interceptor Sedan; skid
plates for virtually all police and special service package vehicles; and a
wide variety of laptop trays, weapon storage lockers, drawer storage systems
and center consoles.
Code 3 PSE showed off their Z3™ Siren with the new SWIF
(Steering Wheel Interface) module for the Ford PI Sedan and PI Utility. With
the SWIF module, the four remappable switches on the Ford steering wheel are
turned into a Z3 Siren control head. The size of a credit card, the SWIF module
can be installed virtually anywhere. This module provides true hands-free
control of all lighting and siren functions. The SWIF module also comes with
two additional inputs that can be used for other switching duties.
The Z3 controller is divided into three color and tactile
zones for primary, auxiliary and traffic-warning functions. The Z3 Siren has an
internal load management system. It can be programmed for time or voltage sense
to selectively shutoff emergency gear. The same load management system can be
used to selectively shut down other upfitted devices.
Fox Fury introduced their Nomad line of LED scene-area spotlights.
The Nomad 360 is a 7,000-lumen light. With the tri-head closed, it is a
360-degree scene light. With the tri-head open, it is either a 120-degree area
light (diffuser attached) or a 12-degree spotlight (diffuser removed). The
light output is adjustable from dim/off to full bright with runtimes from 24
hours (lowest dim) to three hours (max bright). The Nomad 360 uses a rechargeable
Lithium-ion battery with a seven-hour recharge time. The Nomad 360 collapses
into a 39-inch long, 6-inch diameter tube weighing 23 pounds. It telescopes up
to just over 8 feet.
The Nomad Prime is a 4,000-lumen LED light that can be a
120-degree area light (diffuser attached) or an 8-degree spotlight (diffuser
removed). Also rechargeable, the Nomad Prime is smaller and lighter than the
Nomad 360 but still telescopes to nearly 8 feet.
Go Industries unveiled their Ultra Armor™ finish for all
their push bumpers. This is the only push bumper finish to be warranted against
rock chips. Unlike powder coated paint, Ultra Armor is similar in toughness and
texture to a spray-in truck bed liner. The Ultra Armor coating is a polyurea, a
type of elastomer polymer. It is tough enough to withstand repeated hits from a
2-pound ball peen hammer.
Go Industries makes a wide variety of standard push bumpers
for all of the police package and special service vehicles. However, they also
make custom push bumpers based on the individual police department’s specs. The
Fort Worth Police is the latest department to get push bumpers, which are
pre-drilled to exactly match their dual front-siren speaker setup and side
LEDs. Go Industries works with police departments across America to
design and develop both custom push bumpers and PIT bumpers.
New from Havis are complete mounting solutions (docking
stations) for the Panasonic Toughpads A1, B1 and G1. The Toughpad A1 is an
Android-based, 10-inch device; the Toughpad B2 is an Android-based, 7-inch
tablet; and the Toughpad G1 is a Windows-based, 10-inch unit. Tablets in police
cars are not the future—they are the now. The tablet docking stations offer
charging, security and connection to peripherals.
Havis has monitor and keyboard mounts that ergonomically
position the devices yet do not require permanent modification to the vehicle.
The mounts allow both tilt and swivel for both the driver and passenger, and
can rotate from portrait to landscape. These are designed to fit Motorola,
L3-Comm, Data 911, Amrel, Dell, Panasonic, Datalux and XPlore devices.
Lund Industries chose the PFE – Southwest to introduce a
number of vehicle upfitting solutions. Their SecureStor dual gun rack is now
available for both the Ford PI Sedan and Utility. The SecureStor mounts behind
the center console, behind the front seats, and it is (obviously) for
non-prisoner partition vehicles. However, a rigid handle guard still prevents
the weapons from being charged or cycled while locked in place. The SecureStor
bolts to the front seat mounting studs and to the lower crash cross bar under
the rear seat.
Lund is right on top of the power curve with new tablet and
pad docking stations. In a joint effort with Brite Computers, Lund released a version of its Universal
Computer Mounts specifically designed for tablets and convertible laptops. The
fully swing-away mount separately holds the tablet/pad display and the keyboard
(if used). Finally, Lund
displayed their new lockable, low-profile pistol storage box that fits in any
of their center consoles. The top of these thumb-release boxes cleverly holds a
pad of paper.
Setina introduced their new line of TPO Seat Guards at the
PFE – Southwest. The TPO Seat Guard is a hard plastic shell that covers the
existing rear seat. To maintain the maximum residual value, if the factory rear
seats are removed for a bio seat, they need to be put back in the vehicle at
end of life. Of course, you need to store those factory seats, protect them for
four years, and get them back out of long-term storage. With the Setina TPO
Seat Guard, you install it right over the existing seat during the upfit and
remove it during decommission.
TPO (thermoplasticolefin) is a combination of a half-dozen
reinforced plastic and rubber polymers that is higher in quality, tougher and
more durable than the ABS plastic used in most police bio seats. In the
crossovers and SUVs, a cage back is required with the Seat Guard. This can be a
clear polycarbonate screen or a plastic-coated expanded metal. The Seat Guard
is available for the Ford PI Sedan and Utility, Caprice PPV and Charger
Pursuit. It is not available for the current Tahoe but will be for the 2015
Setina also introduced a new rear cargo box for the PI
Utility. The sliding tray has a 300-pound capacity. The installed cargo box
leaves the spare tire fully accessible. A smaller, and also lockable, top box
that fits over the cargo box is also available. Finally, Setina has introduced
LED lights into their line of push bumpers. These can be either 2-LED or 4-LED
units that function as emergency lights, wig-wags, take-downs or area lights.
Factory installed by Setina is the choice of SoundOff Signal tri-color nForce™
LEDs or Whelen Engineering dual-color ION™ LEDs.
Westin introduced their Push Bumper Elite. Westin has 35
years in the business of front end protection. Their Push Bumper Elite uses
heavy steel, no-drill brackets. The sides of the all-steel push bumper are
pro-drilled to accept lights and siren speakers. The top light channel
accommodates up to four LED emergency lights. The super-wide rubber push strips
measure almost 3 inches wide.
The top cross bar is a channel that can be configured as a
solid bar, a two LED light channel, or a four LED light channel. In addition to
the top cross bar, the Push Bumper Elite has a lower upright connecting bar for
additional protection and strength. The Push Bumper Elite is available for the
Chevy Tahoe PPV, Impala 9C1 and Caprice PPV; the Dodge Charger Pursuit, Durango and RAM 1500;
and the Ford PI Sedan, PI Utility, Expedition and F150.
CVPI Steering Column
NHSTA is conducting an engineering analysis of the 2005-2008
Ford CVPI for a potential steering issue. A connection between the upper and
lower shafts of the steering column may fail, causing a separation. Of around
195,000 CVPIs in this timeframe, there have been 15 warranty claims or reports
to NHTSA. At issue is a bearing walk (or movement) on the steering column
shaft, which is easy to inspect for. If you see any of a green cylinder, the
bearing has started to walk. The fix is to take the CVPI to the dealership for
Do not try to fix the problem with hose clamps, duct tape or
metal fasteners. The steering column has a dual collapsibility threshold. Any
“patches” done to “repair” the bearing walk will affect the crash-collapsible
aspect of the steering wheel. The correct fix is a steering column replacement,
an $1100 repair using replacement parts of the same design as the installed
A defect investigation by NHTSA is not a recall. After the
engineering analysis by NHTSA, a vehicle may be recalled or the inquiry may be
closed with no further action.