The PoliceFleet Expo
WEST in Kansas City, Mo. was a successful and informative fleet
event. This year’s show had many newcomers as we welcomed Scott Coy as the new
Chair of Police Fleet Expo. Scott continued the tradition of putting together
exciting expos that specifically target police fleet managers, technicians, and
the officers who drive the vehicles. Scott thanked Kansas City Police
Department for their warm welcome and their tireless help to make this one of
the best shows yet.
started out with an afternoon Ride & Drive track day at KCPD Academy
Driving Course. Thanks to KCPD Sgt. Keith Ericsson and his staff, the event was
a success despite the cold and rainy weather that day. Ford, GM and Dodge all
loved the rain-soaked track as it provided some unique driving experiences that
highlighted each vehicle’s driving dynamics. The success of the day was
measured simply by the fact that the track was never silent with all three
manufacturers putting attendees through non stop evaluation laps.
got to drive Ford’s recently introduced Police Interceptor Utility with the 3.5L
(twin turbo) EcoBoost V6 engine previously available only in the Police Interceptor
Sedan. There were lots of smiles as drivers got out after their hot laps in the
365hp pursuit-rated PI Utility.
their all-new 2015 PPV Tahoe at the track and the lineups were long as attendees
were ready to try the all-new pursuit capable SUV with almost everything
completely redesigned for 2015. Many were very impressed with the significantly
improved driving characteristics of the new Tahoe.
brought their all-new AWD Hemi Charger to track and it didn’t disappoint. One
of the most popular rides of the track event was the Charger AWD and the rainy
weather allowed Dodge to highlight just how good their new AWD Charger really
Track event also had an emergency lighting demo from many of the top lighting
vendors, while Zero Motorcycles offered attendees the chance to ride a
completely emission-free motorcycle on a specific course just for motorcycles.
first day of the educational sessions, attendees jumped in with the big three
manufacturer sessions. Our friends from Chevrolet, Dodge and Ford all
discussed their latest offerings, plus their newest safety and technology
features for 2015.
was Ford who announced two new engine options that were released in December of
2013. The 2.0L EcoBoost I4 in the non-pursuit rated sedan and the EcoBoost 3.5L
in the Interceptor Utility. Government Sales Manager Tony Gratson explained
that the 2.0 I4 is as a result of many customers needing a full-size non-pursuit
rated sedan but still gets higher mpg figures. Ford wanted everyone to know
that PI Utility sales are through the roof and far surpassing their
Ford for 2015, the A-pillar spotlight pre-drill from the factory is now an
option for those who wish to install their own light. An 18-inch aluminum wheel
for the street appearance command/admin vehicles, an all-new police seat
material with revised foam padding, rear-quarter glass emergency light option,
badge delete option, and now standard is the auto headlamps. The rear camera
option is now standalone and not bundled with SYNC.
Hammer from GM was excited to introduce the all-new PPV Tahoe, and by new GM
means completely redesigned while keeping the same footprint on the road. All-new
police specific suspension and driving dynamics allow for a significant
improvement over the outgoing model. New for 2015 is the PPV 4WD pursuit-rated
SUV. Slated for fall 2014 production, this will be the first 4WD pursuit rated
SUV in the GM lineup.
showcased their all-new SSV Silverado 1500 pickup at the track event. While not
available for driving, attendees got to go inside and look at the new special
purposed pickup designed specifically for law enforcement.
Callery from Dodge showed the audience the picture of the all-new 2015 Charger.
While sporting new front and rear fascia, the 2015 Charger will have a
completely blacked-out front fascia. David went on to explain that not all the
measurements are finalized and Dodge plans on having an upfit session with
vendors to ensure it is ready before vehicles are delivered to customers. He
further advised that Dodge will most likely do an extended 2014 Charger build
process right through until late July and then start the 2015 builds sometime
in October 2014.
Dodge is the industry’s first OEM “Secure Park” feature, which
Dodge has standardized as a leader in this technology. Using buttons on the
backside of the steering wheel, on both sides, the secure park can be activated
by an officer in seconds and then deactivated automatically when the key fob is
brought back into the vehicle. This system is well thought out and solves the issue
of securing the Chargers.
Trade Show Highlights
expo hall had over 60 exhibits with bumper to bumper equipment for police
vehicles. Here is just a tiny glimpse of the just announced or newly released
products and services that fleet managers had two days to review.
Snare was new this year; still in the development stages, this new prisoner
restraint product attaches to the rear quarter of the police vehicle. The
suspect is then directed to lean against the device and the suspect pulls the
belt out and clips himself in for a safe and secure officer safety pat-down.
new provider to law enforcement, C-Tech, well known for their high-quality,
custom storage solutions came to PFE with some innovative SUV storage
solutions. The command/tactical storage cabinets or modular storage solutions are
completely customizable to your agency’s needs and wants. Lightweight aluminum
construction with their patented motion latch drawers make this product
something to consider when upfitting your new PI Utility or PPV Tahoe.
with their newly patented prisoner partition, Jotto Desk recognized the unused
space readily available behind the front passenger seat and set about to design
a partition to take advantage of this extra room. Initially released for the 2011
Dodge Charger, the patented design of the Space Creator partition did what no
other partition design could do. It provided the maximum room for the driver,
yet created room for a prisoner due to the Bidirectional Recessed Housing
introduced their new line of universal gun mounts, both in single and dual
weapon configurations. These new long gun mounts can be configured with any
weapon and installed in virtually any vehicle made today.
Industries always provides a great display of their new products. This year,
they brought their all-new Interceptor Sedan custom consoles that make maximum
use of space while maintaining higher safety values. They also showed off the
new innovative sedan trunk tray that fully folds down and creates a false wall
behind the seat.
also has the industry-only PASS® Police Audio-visual Safety System. Their
specially designed and patented system encloses the siren speaker(s) in the
upright of the bumper system, greatly improving sound on the ground plane in
front of your vehicle. PASS® solves speaker mounting issues on new vehicles
because the speaker is no longer mounted behind the bumper or fascia.
Automotive is well known in the aftermarket truck accessory world, recently
adding some new police product to their lineup. This show featured Westin’s new
“Pit Bar Elite”—a full wraparound certified by major law enforcement agencies
for PIT maneuvers. The Pit Bar Elite is easily bolted on to the Westin “Push
Bumper Elite” to ensure you have a very robust solution for your fleet’s high-risk
vehicles. The Westin pushbars all come with 2 or 4 LED lighting options.
always has a big turnout for the Agency roundtable sessions. Here agencies are
divided into three groups, less than 50 officers, 50 to 150 officers, and the
largest at more than 150 officers. Moderated by law enforcement officers and
fleet experts, these sessions are an extremely effective opportunity to share
your concerns with other agencies your size. This year was unique as a common
theme ran through all three groups: “What is everyone doing since we are three
years past the death of the CVPI?”
interesting that no matter what size your agency is, everyone is still faced
with making a vehicle selection based on the newer, smaller, more technically
advanced vehicles. While safer and able to do so much more, these vehicle are
getting smaller on the inside as law enforcement continues its demand to put
more technology inside these new vehicles. It’s sessions like these that can
save you months of research after listening to what others have tried, had
success with, or failed completely with.
attendees spoke up and PFE listened to their feedback, which resulted in both
new and returning favorite speakers. This started with a general session called
Cop Tech. Capt. Matt Ayers provided a realistic dialogue on what’s going on in
the upfit world around North America. One of Matt’s main points was that many
in the Fleet business are still living with a “Crown Vic mentality.”
presentation showed attendees that this mindset needs to be changed as we are
now three years past the date the Crown Victoria stopped production. As Matt
said, “All three police manufacturers make really good, safe products now, so we
must ensure that as upfitters we don’t affect that vehicle safety with our
encyclopedia of Fleet Management, Bill DeRousse was back again presenting Fleet
Management 101. If you’re new to the fleet business, this is one session you
need to attend. Attendees tapped into Bill’s decade of fleet experience using
the latest software and fleet management systems. Bill is one of the best
resources a new fleet manager could ever have, especially given how complex
fleets are these days.
also attended this year’s show with a session on police vehicles of the future.
Known for their forward thinking and pushing the envelope with in-vehicle
technology, LAPD showed their current projects with in-dash mounted screens and
ALPR. If you are looking to move forward with your agency’s mobile technology,
this was one session worth staying for.
the most highly anticipated session at every PFE is Tire Forensics. You would
never know these two guys are competitors as Goodyear’s Rick Wendt and
Bridgestone/Firestone’s TJ Tennant provided what many consider as the best-in-show
technical tire session. The Rick & TJ Show provided no-nonsense look at
police vehicle tires.
interactive session cuts through all the misinformation as these two tire
experts explained that low tire pressure is the number one killer of tires in
any industry. Low pressure creates greater rolling resistance and that
resistance causes heat, heat being one of the worst things for rubber.
explained that there are only two manufacturers making police tires, real
police tires. He explained that buying a V or W speed-rated performance tire
doesn’t mean it is suitable for police. Firestone makes several versions of the
Firehawk and Goodyear makes four versions of the Eagle RS-A that are sold to
the public not just for police. You need to confirm you’re getting the police
version because there are significant differences in the design of the police tire
compared to the retail version. The police ‘specific’ tire can be identified by
the proper SKU number; make sure you confirm it!
again, PFE was able to bring subject matter experts to one location, making
them accessible to all law-enforcement fleet personnel. The education value
alone makes attending this show more than worthwhile. This year’s PFE WEST was
a success made so by the large number of attendees and the gracious hosts of
the Kansas City Police Department.
Brewer is a 26-year member of the Vancouver Police Department. He sits on the
Ford Police Advisory Board and regularly gives presentations at law enforcement
conferences on mobile computing, wireless technology and police vehicle
ergonomics. He can be reached at email@example.com.