Police Program Pickups for 2018

Police Program Pickups for 2018

By Brad Brewer

Since the departure of law enforcement’s beloved Crown Victoria (CVPI), the police vehicle manufacturers (OEMs) have done a remarkable job filling the void with an amazing cross section of new fleet vehicles that are better suited for today’s front-line policing duties. The men and women in blue whose jurisdiction may include some rough wilderness often too rugged for a sedan now have some much-needed options. All three OEMs make some great police products such as Dodge’s pursuit-rated sedan and GM’s pursuit-rated SUV. But the void that wasn’t being filled until now was the Police Pickup segment.
Sure, the law-enforcement fleet offerings have included F-150s, Chevy Silverados, and Ram 1500s before, but to date, none of these has been sufficiently battle-hardened to earn the coveted Pursuit rating. Ford, GM, and FCA Fleet all distinguish their law-enforcement offerings as either Pursuit or Special Service Vehicles, but there is no SAE or global Pursuit standard. Each OEM devises its own development targets. Usually, the test regimen involves hardening the powertrain, suspension, tires, wheels, and brakes to withstand prolonged high-speed, high-heat, severe-duty conditions.
The most widely accepted standard for this Pursuit qualification is successfully completing the annual Michigan State Police Vehicle Test and the Los Angeles County Car Test.
Ford Police Program Pickup: F-150 Police Responder
In the case of the F-150 Police Responder, the retail F-150 is already so rugged that the required improvements to achieve Pursuit status were minimal. The special calibrated suspension components and shocks were pulled from the FX4 off-road package, which also brings skidplates and hill-descent control. From there, the front anti-roll bar is stiffened slightly, and the front and rear brakes are upgraded for fade resistance with improved friction material, new coatings for the calipers, and silicon rubber dust boots on the caliper pistons; the rotor and caliper dimensions don’t change. The police tires are Goodyear Wranglers with DuPont Kevlar reinforcement, in size LT 275/65R18. They come wrapped around aluminum wheels because the roughly 7-inch-tall reinforced tire sidewalls are said to provide sufficient protection from wheel damage when running over curbs at high speed. No steel wheel alternative will be offered.
The police engine powering all F-150 Pursuit trucks will be the venerable 3.5-liter EcoBoost twin-turbo V-6 good for 375 hp and 470 lb-ft, the most horsepower and torque of any Pursuit-rated police vehicle. The engine internals and cooling system are unchanged; the only police upgrades are a 240-amp alternator to power all the lights and accessories, and meters to keep track of engine-on hours and engine-idle hours for maintenance purposes. Power gets routed through Ford’s new 10-speed automatic and a two-speed four-wheel-drive transfer case. The F-150 vehicle is capable of slightly over 6 seconds for 0 to 60 mph and a top speed above 100 mph, the electronic limit for the Police F-150 Responder.
According to Ford, the F-150 Police Responder has the largest interior passenger space of any Pursuit-rated vehicle (beating Chevy’s Tahoe PPV by 11.1 cubic feet), best payload (2,030 pounds), and best towing—the standard Class IV hitch can manage 7,000 pounds, with optional towing up to 10,700 pounds. For the interior, it gets a standard column shifter to free up console space for electronics. The heavy-duty cloth seats feature backrests that have lumbar side bolsters carved away to accommodate bulky equipment belts, and the front seatbacks have steel reinforcements for stab protection.
Potential customers clamoring for a Pursuit pickup include sheriff’s departments, border patrols, tribal police, and departments of natural resources, in addition to state and local jurisdictions in wilderness and mountainous areas. Hence, when the F-150 Police Responder goes on sale in the spring of 2018, Ford expects incremental sales over and above 2017’s 43,000 law enforcement sales—that represents 64 percent of the overall market, with Ford claiming a 69 percent share of the Pursuit market.

Dodge Ram Pickup Police Program
Sometimes catching the bad guys requires more muscle than speed. For the past six years, the Ram 1500 Special Service Vehicle has given police departments the power to pursue criminals over tough terrains and across remote areas to reach citizens in distress. 
Consumers might think they are missing out since the Ram SSV is unavailable to civilians. But here’s the twist: The SSV pickup is nearly identical to the Ram 1500 sold at any dealership, right down to the four-wheel-drive traction, Hemi power, and room in the back seat for even a bad guy or two.
The SSV starts out as a Ram 1500 crew cab with four-wheel drive and 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 power. So, no special police motor for pursuing Hellcats, but at 395 horsepower, the Hemi’s no slouch. It has the same four-wheel disc brakes, coil-spring suspension, hydraulically boosted power steering, and heavy-duty cooling as on the civilian V-8 truck. The SSV version adds 100,000-mile spark plugs and a higher-capacity oil cooler to cope with extended periods of idling.
It also features a larger (220-amp) alternator, as well as a Ram Truck-engineered upfit module, called the VSIM (Vehicle System Interface Module). It provides a multitude of useful input/output connections to increase upfitter friendliness and upfit simplification. There is also an optional shorter 3.92:1 final-drive ratio for better low-speed ‘out of the hole’ acceleration, plus optional on-/off-road tires. A tried-and-true six-speed automatic transmission from the bare-bones 1500 Tradesman model replaces the ZF eight-speed unit found in most other Ram pickups.
Inside the expansive 125-cubic-foot crew-cab cabin, the 1500 SSV gets a few more tweaks. The front seats are stain-resistant cloth buckets, and rear-seat guests are treated to an available all-vinyl, hose-it-out bench to accompany the truck’s hose-it-out vinyl flooring. The rear window is fixed, with no slider glass back there to tempt a quick exit. A standard column-mounted shift lever replaces the dash-mounted rotary knob, and the factory console is removed to make room for a structural baseplate for console mounting.
The mandatory certified speedometer eliminates differences of opinion in court, while two meters monitor engine running hours and how many of those have accrued while idling. The front door structures have beefed-up welds to handle the added mass of any ballistic material that may be added later. As an industry exclusive, the SSV is available with a pair of lockable RamBox storage bins alongside the bed. The bins provide quick access to frequently used equipment without the need to open doors.
The Ram 1500 SSV is not yet Pursuit rated and as such, it drives pretty much the same as its civilian 1500 4WD crew-cab counterpart. Four-wheel-drive traction is a boon, as anyone who has ever driven a rear-drive pickup at the limits of adhesion will attest. You can floor the SSV from rest without any wheelspin—the SSV Ram just rears up and pile-drives ahead. The Ram 1500, when fitted with the standard steel coils, offers one of the best rides in the full-size pickup universe. The SSV’s steering, while no model of communication, is at least linear and naturally weighted.
The SSV’s brakes do a satisfactory job of halting the 5,734-pound Ram at first but suffer heavy fading after multiple high-speed stops. The on-/off-road tires, while good for chasing suspects in the dirt, no doubt contributed to the lengthy dry-pavement stops as well.
The Ram SSV’s high-speed is appropriately governed to 106 mph. The big pickup offers the kind of spread-out room needed for all manner of modern law-enforcement equipment, and its cargo bed can accommodate confiscated contraband or any custom equipment storage unit on the market today. The front driver’s seat is 10-way power adjustable so it’s comfortable enough for long shifts, and the tall roof means no one has to duck while getting in.
So for those departments that need a little more flexibility over size and for which a Pursuit rating isn’t a must, the Ram 1500 SSV may fit the bill while helping to save lives and catch criminals.

GM Police Program Chevrolet Silverado SSV
The 2018 Silverado SSV (Special Service Vehicle) joins the 2018 Chevy PPV Tahoe that’s not only designed for police use, but is also Pursuit-rated in both rear and four-wheel drive versions. While the Silverado isn’t Pursuit-rated, it has been significantly upgraded to handle the rugged environment often encountered in front-line law enforcement. It is available in both 2WD and the highly capable 4WD, work truck or LS trim level, and in both short and standard boxes. The Silverado SSV is a very capable law enforcement vehicle for specialty units such as Marine, K9, Mounted, Commercial Vehicle Inspectors, Border Patrol, or any deployment that requires extra-large cargo storage with off-road capability.
That toughness comes from significant enhancements: An external engine oil cooler, an upgraded transmission oil cooler, a 170-amp high-output alternator, and 730-CCA auxiliary battery all make the SSV’s equipment roster. The stronger electrics and auxiliary battery afford fleet managers or their upfitters the ability to connect all the aftermarket equipment to an isolated battery source, never touching the primary battery that starts the vehicle. This is a big deal for law enforcement, as often times a police vehicle must have emergency lighting activated while parked with the engine shut down and without affecting the primary battery’s charge. Ensuring that primary battery is always charged up is a police-specific 170-amp high-output alternator.
The SSV pickup also features a 110-volt outlet and is wired to accept up to four center-stack accessory switches. These can easily be extended and positioned into a center equipment console when the optional console delete is ordered so aftermarket consoles can be installed.
In the interior, reclining front 40/20/40 individual seats in vinyl or cloth are available with the corresponding vinyl rear seat. The multimedia options include: 4.2-inch diagonal color display, AM/FM stereo with USB port and auxiliary jack, plus upfitter connection for power, ground, ignition. Vehicle speed is also readily available up front. Other interior options include an auxiliary dome lamp, driver only, or driver and passenger spotlamps. If an agency wants to install a prisoner partition between the front and rear seats, the SSV will accommodate. The spacious rear seating area is upholstered in a luxurious vomit and urine-proof vinyl.
The SSV is also available with GM’s Common Fleet Key, daytime running lamps delete, and includes surveillance lighting calibration for interior and exterior lighting surveillance mode, which provides officers with a significant safety benefit by allowing control of specific interior and exterior lighting. Other available Safety and Security features include: rear vision camera, air bags (dual-stage frontal and side-impact driver and front passenger), head-curtain and seat-mounted side-impact for front and rear outboard seating positions. In addition, you’ll find GM’s exclusive StabiliTrak® electronic stability control system, and of course a tire-pressure monitoring system.
Powering the SSV Silverado is the always reliable 5.3L EcoTec3® V8 engine, available with FlexFuel capability. The Police version comes with a high-capacity air cleaner, 6-speed automatic, electronically controlled transmission with overdrive and tow/haul mode, auxiliary transmission oil cooler, and 4-wheel disc antilock brakes with Duralife™ rotors. Optional features include: AutoTrak electronic 2-speed transfer case (4WD only), heavy-duty locking rear differential, Trailering Package, and integrated trailer brake controller.
Still more features include: Exterior fold-away rearview mirrors, 17-inch steel wheels with P255/70R17 all-season tires, tailgate and bed-rail top protection cap, CornerStep rear bumper, cab-mounted dual cargo-area lamps with switch on center switch bank. The always-helpful recovery hooks are standard on the 4WD version and optional on the 2WD. Locking tailgate and capless fuel fill are also standard. For those backwoods patrols, the optional off-road suspension and DuraTrac off-road tires will meet the needs of rugged terrain.
GM Fleet provides a very comprehensive ordering guide for the SSV’s optional features. Those agencies wanting space for a front-center equipment console and laptop computer mount will need to order the front seat center 20% delete for 15 inches of open floor space. The radio was upgraded for 2018 to a 7-inch screen from the 4.2-inch screen. With the radio upgrade, you also get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto so you can use your phone with features/apps from it. Of course, GM has the brand-exclusive OnStar hardware with the optional Guidance Plan that includes hands-free calling OnStar® 4G LTE with a built-in Wi-Fi® hotspot and integrated Bluetooth® wireless technology (standard on LS).
The SSV bring the ruggedness of the Silverado line-up and wraps it up with some very practical options that will make it a valuable addition to any police fleet.

Published in Police Fleet Manager, Mar/Apr 2018

Rating : Not Yet Rated

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