The next generation of police cruisers will soon hit the streets of Palm Beach Gardens.
The Ford Police Interceptor Utility SUV, a police package version of the Ford Explorer, will soon be the face of the department’s road patrol lineup. The City will gradually rotate aging vehicles out of service in favor of a more practical vehicle lineup capable of meeting the demands of the day-to-day job of patrolling.
It was only back in 2011 that Ford discontinued the iconic Ford Crown Victoria, once a staple of police department fleets across the country. The city then made the switch to the Ford Taurus and Dodge Charger in 2015. Last year, Ford announced it would be discontinuing the police sedan and instead focusing its attention on its SUV variant of the police package. This prompted the city to consider the direction it would go for the department’s patrol lineup, as it weighed factors such as cost, safety, and performance. Ultimately, the city decided to transition to SUVs.
Unlike the department’s current road patrol models, the Ford Taurus and the Dodge Charger, both of which will eventually be phased out of the department’s fleet, the new SUVs will provide officers ample space and considerably more cargo storage for the array of equipment necessary to carry out their duties. Combine this with improved safety features and upgraded equipment, officers will have a vehicle suited for effective policing, all without compromising functionality and performance.
“These vehicles will provide officers the space they need to perform their job efficiently,” says Major Paul Rogers, Commander of the Special Operations Bureau and fleet manager for all the department’s 150-plus vehicles. “This is an officer’s office for 11 to 12 hours a day. They carry a lot of equipment that they must have readily accessible at any given time.”
Boasting advanced technology and safety features, each vehicle has been retrofitted with enhanced light packages and reflective decals on the rear bumper, ensuring maximum visibility both day and night. And thanks to traction control improvements, these vehicles are considerably safer than sedans and are less prone to rollovers.
“The focus of these new vehicles is safety. Not only are they safer for the officer, they are more visible to the public,” says Rogers. “The transition to SUVs underscores the importance of safety for both officers and city residents, while also being adaptive to the demands of the profession. This results in a better delivery of service to the residents of Palm Beach Gardens.”
Since the new SUVs are being leased, the city will be able to accelerate its vehicle replacement schedule, saving on long-term expenses associated with maintenance, and wear and tear.
While new vehicles have already begun to rollout, the department expects the transition to be completed over the next two to three years.