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2015 Police Fleet Expo - Milwaukee

The 2015 Police Fleet Expo in Milwaukee had record attendance, excellent training classes, and an auditorium full of world-class vendors with the newest in fleet technologies. Sixty percent of our attendees return year after year, learning from their peers, vendors, and classes given by police and fleet individuals who have lived the police fleet business.

Tuesday, Aug. 18, started out with what I believe to be the best Ride and Drive we have ever had. With hundreds in attendance, everyone I spoke with echoed my thoughts. Milwaukee Area Technical College provided an exceptional test track facility with both on-road and off-road driving experience. Ford, FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) and Chevrolet were there with their newest and greatest vehicles for everyone who wanted to drive.

You could also drive electric bikes and scooters and visit with Harley Davidson. Several of our leading lightbar manufacturers and aftermarket suppliers were there to answer questions. Also provided this year as part of the Ride and Drive was an educational session on Alternative Fuels.


Manufacturer’s Sessions

Wednesday, Aug. 19, began with our opening ceremony led by Scott Coy, the PFE Chair. Coy introduced our city police host, Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn. Also at this year’s conference was Hong Kong Police Fleet Manager Mr. Kevin Lau.

Police Fleet Manager

Editorial Director, Lt. Ed Sanow, announced this year’s overall vehicle graphic winner, the Apex, NC Police Department – Congratulations!

With the posting of the colors by the Milwaukee Police Department color guard, we were ready to start our presentations by FCA, Chevrolet and Ford.

A copy of each of the presentation given by Chevrolet, FCA and Ford with be on the

Police Fleet Expo’s

Web page.



FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) started our vehicle manufacturer dialogue session. All of our manufacturers showcased their best of the best, their police vehicle lineups. FCA showed how they used new technology to make their police vehicles even better. The vehicles our officers drive are the safest of any vehicle made in the world.

Bick Pratt, Dave Callery and George Bomanski provided the attendees with the newest from FCA – business overview, police vehicles, and fleet service issues. FCA announced they will host a two-day tech training class at any attendee’s shop, free of charge with a minimum of eight techs.

Ford was next to show us how they have improved their police models. Jonathon Honeycutt, Tony Gratson and Randy Freiburger talked about new technologies, new products, and vehicle engineering. Ford, as do all of the manufacturers, emphasized the importance of safety, with a high degree to the safety of our officers from rear-end collisions. As with all manufacturers, ergonomics has increased in importance over the years. Randy spoke of many safety and ergonomic features to include the engineering that went into the operation of their all-wheel drive technology.

General Motors is a leader in the safety, ergonomics, and engineering of our police vehicles. Dana Hammer, Brian Bowden and Howard Smith provided the GM lineup, which is stronger and better than past years. Brian spoke of the overall business and the vehicle awards GM has won for lowest total cost. Hammer talked about the Silverado SSV, Tahoe PPV, Caprice PPV and Impala 9C1.

They also talked about the Express Van and the availability of CNG in some of their vehicles. Smith discussed the improvements that have been made with AGM battery technology and how they have added an auxiliary battery in some vehicles.


Product Improvements

In order to ensure the best performing vehicles on the road, Chrysler, Ford and Chevrolet hire a large number of retired police officers to ensure they fully understand how the vehicles are used. In addition to this, each of the manufacturers have Police Advisory Boards with members from police agencies from around the U.S. representing police and fleet concerns.

In addition to what Ford, Chevrolet and Chrysler provide with their own safety testing, we are also lucky to have the Michigan State Police testing facility and the L.A. County Sheriff offices conducting extensive testing of vehicles, tires, motorcycles and other products. Hot this year was the introduction by FCA and Ford of the 12-inch touchscreen. This will surely help with the safety and ergonomics of our officers putting more in the reach of the officer.

A special presentation was made by retired police officer Robert Christensen, author of

Out of the Darkness and into the Blue

. This is a fascinating glimpse into law enforcement for anyone who hasn’t read it.


Agency Sessions

Thursday, Aug. 20, started with Agency Sessions, where attendees are divided into three groups based on the number of vehicles in their fleet. In each of the sessions were representatives from Ford, FCA and Chevrolet to answer questions presented by attendees about any issues they were having with their police vehicles, regardless of the manufacturer. Some questions could be answered on the spot while others required the manufacturer to get with the agency to conduct further research. These are great sessions in which to share questions, get answers, and find out what other agencies are doing.

Several consecutive training classes started right after the agency sessions. These classes included: 1) Fleet Management 101, 2) Upfitting, 3) Graphics, 4) Whole Life Costing, 5) Vehicle Leasing, and 6) In-Car Mobile Technology.


Exhibit Hall

One of the best parts of

Police Fleet Expo

is meeting and discussing products, safety and technology with the vendors. The exhibitors included literally every aspect of police fleet management: At the exhibit hall were representatives from major police car manufacturers, vehicle upfitter equipment, lightbars, fleet management software, tire and brake manufacturers, vehicle storage box manufacturers, in-vehicle camera and on-vest cameras, road spikes, gun locks, motorcycles, bike and trike electric technologies, antennas, prisoner transporters, leasing companies, alternate fuels and many others to help you with selecting the best product for your needs. If it had anything whatsoever to do with either fleet management or fleet maintenance, there were companies in the exhibit hall with those products and services.

Friday, Aug. 21, the Exhibit Hall was again open for the entire morning. In the afternoon, the educational sessions continued. These included: 1) Accident Reconstruction, 2) Antennas, Routers and Communications, and 3) Tire Forensics, better known as the Rick & TJ Tire Show, the single most popular class of the entire Expo. These guys are good. If you ever wanted to know anything about tires, regardless of who the manufacturer is, this is a do-not-miss presentation/class.


Bill DeRousse is a Fleet Management consultant who works with fleets throughout the United States. He can be contacted at

Published in Police Fleet Manager, Nov/Dec 2015

Rating : 6.0

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