After Ford’s discontinuation of the classic Crown Victoria last year, police departments around the country have been searching for the next new police car standard. Sticking with the tradition of using Fords for over 25 years, the Ridgefield Police Department opted to go with the Ford Police Interceptors, and apparently they drive like a dream.
“[When] we did our drivers’ training, it rained really hard, but the only thing that slowed down the trainers was the windshield wipers. I’ve never seen anything like it. I was in awe. They make bad drivers good, good drivers better,” said Lieutenant John McAllister of the Ridgefield Police Department.
The training McAllister refers to occurred over a two-week period last month, with over 200 officers from 15 different Fairfield County police departments. McAllister, a driving instructor and accident reconstructionist at the Ridgefield Police Department, led the training. Officers put six Interceptors to the test, speeding around curves and testing the vehicles to their limits on a closed course within a huge parking lot in Stratford so they would be prepared to use them in real, on-the-job situations. Several officers from Wilton, Westport, Trumbull and Brookfield volunteered to aide McAllister during the training, which he called “labor-intensive” and “hectic” but also fun.
Officers “knocked off a couple plastic parts and went through some tires” during the training, but other than that, there were no damages or injuries.
“All the officers who got behind the wheel were blown away by the performance,” he said. However, he also added that only time can tell if the Interceptors can withstand the strain and punishment of being a police cruiser without breaking down.
The Police Interceptor sedan boasts a 365 horsepower twin-turbo V-6 engine with a top speed of 148 mph, much greater than the old Crown Victorias. Gas mileage is said to better by about two miles per gallon, according to the magazine Automobile’s June 2012 issue; McAllister said Ford claimed a 35-percent savings in gas with the new sedan. According to the Ridgefield’s Board of Finance Department, the two sedans currently in use by the Ridgefield Police Department cost $26,387 each. The department also purchased an Interceptor utility vehicle—which McAllister said is the Interceptor’s chasse but with a different frame—for $28,733. Ridgefield Police also transferred radios, police lights, and other equipment from the old cruisers to the new Interceptors, and went through a third party for the Ridgefield Police paint job. While these services are all offered by Ford, the McAllister said they were trying to be cost-conscious of the Ridgefield tax payer and went the cheaper routes.
While a total of $81.5k for the three vehicles might seem expensive, purchasing new police vehicles is unavoidable. Without new Crown Victorias being made, spare parts will likely come into high demand and become harder to find—not to mention the inability to purchase a brand new one if a current cruiser gets totaled. Additionally, the Interceptor sedans and utility vehicles are made up of interchangeable parts, from the wheels to the seats.
Despite how well-designed these Interceptors may prove to be, the phasing out of the Crown Victoria still stings, especially for those who have worked with them for so long. The Interceptors have been a part of the Ridgefield Police Department’s approximately 10-car fleet for about four months now.
“We really loved the Crown Victoria, we had it forever,” said McAllister. “It’s an iconic figure—I say a ‘cop car’ and you know exactly what I’m talking about. People were sad to see it go.” He related it to a relationship: “It’s like going through a breakup. There’s a comfort period,” he said.
However, despite working with Crown Victorias for 25 years on the job, McAllister doesn’t miss the old cars at all. It appears that the new Interceptors might make their way into being the new cop car standard in Ridgefield.
“As long as they don’t break,” McAllister added.