Law enforcement agencies have many choices when it comes to vehicles designed to propel officers from call to call. Depending on your daily duties and where you perform them, you might need something out of the ordinary to do your job effectively.
Thankfully, most companies are more than happy to customize vehicles to an agency's or special unit's specifications. Here's a look at a range of modes of transportation available to you for traversing land, water, and air on duty.
Here's a look at 2016 cars and utility vehicles for patrol and other details.
Chevy's law enforcement lineup for 2016 includes the newly redesigned Tahoe SUV, now available as an automatic four-wheel-drive PPV; the Caprice; the efficient front-wheel-drive Impala; and the Silverado Special Service WT and LS.
Technology features found in the 2016 models include Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, standard on Tahoe PPV and Caprice PPV and available on Silverado; an auxiliary battery on Tahoe PPV; and a rear vision camera, standard on Tahoe PPV, Silverado SSV, and available on Caprice PPV.
Chevrolet has been making a police pursuit-rated version of the Tahoe for more than a decade. And it is the only full-size SUV to be certified as a police pursuit-rated vehicle. It's also Chevy's best-selling law enforcement vehicle. The Tahoe PPV's 5.3L V-8 Flex Fuel engine with direct injection and active fuel management generates 355 horsepower and 383 foot-pounds of torque. Also available are the 2WD PPV and 4x4 Special Service Vehicle (SSV) models.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' lineup of law enforcement vehicles includes the Dodge Charger Pursuit, Ram Special Service, and Dodge Durango Special Service. Each features the company's Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system and advanced multistage air bags.
New for 2016, the Charger Pursuit is available with a 12.1-inch in-dash touchscreen, freeing up interior room by eliminating the center tray and relocating the laptop into the trunk. Other features include the available AWD as well as rear-wheel-drive engineering, choice of two powerplants and high-strength steel Unibody, and high-performance brakes.
The Charger Pursuit V-8 and V-8 all-wheel-drive (AWD) models deliver 370 horsepower, and the Charger can get up to an EPA estimated 26 miles per gallon (mpg) highway with the aluminum 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine with 292 horsepower, 260 lb.-ft. of torque, and available E-85 flex-fuel capability.
Ford's 2016 model year law enforcement offerings include the Police Interceptor Sedan, Police Interceptor Utility, and Expedition Special Service Vehicle.
Just as it was in the patrol sedan market for many years, Ford is the undisputed sales champion in the pursuit-rated SUV market. In fact, the company's midsize Ford Police Interceptor Utility, which is based on the Ford Explorer SUV, is the best-selling vehicle in American law enforcement.
Ford introduced an updated Police Interceptor Utility for the 2016 model year with a more rugged, truck-like look and new features including a new front and rear design, new headlamps, a new instrument panel, and an enhanced electrical system to distribute electrical loads more efficiently. Ford also added a standard rear-view camera and a lift-gate release switch that's accessible to occupants in the front that allows the rear lift-gate to remain unlocked for 45 seconds to allow officers to access the cargo area.
The base model of the Police Interceptor Utility is powered by a 3.7-liter V-6 engine that generates 304 horsepower and 279 foot-pounds of torque. Buyers can also opt for a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 that produces 365 horsepower and 350 foot-pounds of torque.
Motor officers rely on their duty bikes for high maneuverability. Here's a look at 2016 models for law enforcement.
BMW Motorrad USA's police motorcycle models include the BMW G 650 GS-P offered in three suspension versions; F 800 GT-P, designed to provide sport-bike handling and performance; and the new 2016 R 1200 RT-P. The R 1200 RT-P has a new boxer air/water-cooled engine producing 125 bhp and 92 lb/ft of torque, wet clutch, e-gas electronic throttle control, and integrated lighting system.
Designed as an alternative to a motorcycle, BRP's three-wheeled Can-Am Spyder F3-P features a cruising riding position, a lower center of gravity, and a distinctive Y-frame. Officers can customize their bike's fit with the UFIT system of adjustable foot peg positions and alternative handlebars.
Harley-Davidson offers three 2016 police models: Electra Glide, Road King, and XL 883L. Reflex Linked Brakes with ABS come standard on all 2016 Police Road King and Electra Glide motorcycle models, which feature brighter lighting at 1,570 and 915 lumens, respectively. The XL 883L features a redesigned seat for increased comfort, new front suspension, and adjustable rear shocks.
Victory Police Motorcycles offers four models: Victory Commander 1, Victory Commander II, Stealth Commander 1, and Victory Vision. All are delivered fully equipped. The Victory Vision features an electronically adjustable windshield, heated seat and grips, and lower air deflectors for officers that cover large areas.
Zero Motorcycles are electric vehicles available in three police models: FXP for going off road at parks and beaches, DSP versatile dual sport model for on- and off-road use, and SP for city and suburban use. The 100% electric powertrain is nearly silent and exhaust free. All 2016 police models benefit from the more efficient Z-Force IPM motor and Z-Force power packs, which allow for extended range.
Aerial views from fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters aid in search and rescue, surveillance, and speed enforcement. These airborne vehicles can also of course transport officers and even prisoners.
AgustaWestland's AW139 was developed to exceed the rigorous standards of federal, state, and local airborne law enforcement authorities. The AW139 law enforcement helicopter achieves this by utilizing efficient, proven, and advanced technologies and design criteria to achieve a very cost-effective helicopter. The integrated avionic system provides the basis for managing the sensors and comprehensive communications suite required for the law enforcement role.
The Beechcraft G58 Baron ISR provides the combination of a state-of-the-art surveillance camera and data link with multi-engine safety and 4- to 6-hour mission persistence. The Beechcraft Baron is certified for flight into known icing and comes standard with a full avionics package for IFR flight including radar.
The Delaware State Police aviation section operate the first Bell 429 configured for helicopter emergency services, search and rescue, and airborne law enforcement. The aircraft are used throughout the state for a variety of parapublic missions with a strong focus on EMS. The Bell 429 is distinctive in that it is a light twin-engine helicopter with true two-litter capability, featuring enough cabin space for two medical attendants and two crewmembers. The Bell 429 also features a fully integrated glass cockpit, advanced drive system, WAAS navigation, and IFR capability.
Robinson Helicopter Company produces two helicopters for law enforcement: R44 Raven II Police Helicopter and the R66 Turbine Police Helicopter. Both arrive with specialized equipment including infrared imaging system, searchlight, monitor, and dual audio controller for police radios, already installed and FAA-approved. While retaining many of the features of the R44 Police Helicopter including a two-bladed rotor system and open cabin configuration, the R66 Turbine Police Helicopter provides additional seating and cargo capacity, increased reserved power, and improved altitude performance.
While patrol officers are always on the lookout for unsafe drivers, DUI task forces, saturation patrols, and DUI checkpoints are more focused ways of getting inebriated drivers off the road. For these operations, vehicles specially equipped with everything needed to test for intoxication as well as process and even hold offenders can be immensely helpful.
Comlabs' vehicle division recently delivered a B.A.T. (Blood Alcohol Testing) vehicle to the Providence (RI) Police Department. Built on a Freightliner chassis, this unit features two jail cells, workstations, breathalyzers, fingerprinting, VoIP phones, a cellular modem, and video monitoring. Comlabs also builds a variety of other custom trucks and trailers. All vehicle production is done in-house and all systems are integrated onsite.
Farber Specialty Vehicles custom builds mobile units to the exact specifications of its customers in a broad range of styles featuring the latest and most advanced technologies for DUI and blood alcohol testing (BAT) vehicles, in addition to vehicles for other specialized units. Customers have the option of providing the operating systems, or Farber Specialty will provide a "turn-key" vehicle, fully operational upon delivery of the vehicle.
Sirchie's series of Mobile DUI Enforcement Vehicles allow for easy deployment and setup of sobriety checkpoints. Equipped with a holding cell of the same molded fiberglass construction as the company's prisoner transport vehicles, these vehicles can securely and safely house detainees while testing of other suspects is ongoing. The DUI100M is effective as both a deterrent and an enforcement tool. Also available are the company's Breath Alcohol Testing Vehicle and Freightliner-Based DUI Enforcement Vehicle.
Any jurisdiction situated in and around waterways can benefit from a vessel customized for law enforcement. They come in handy for everything from monitoring recreational boating and fishing to conducting search and rescue missions.
FSI North America offers a complete range of pneumatic white water, transom, and center console transom rescue boats with thick 1.2mm fabric. FSI boats are designed to turn and corner aggressively and get up on plane immediately. FSI offers multiple towing 'O' and 'D' rings and rescue ropes—all intended to aid in police and rescue operations.
Intrepid builds custom boats for federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies as well as Homeland Security and Border Patrol. The company's model line includes boats between 24 and 47 feet long. Options include dive doors, custom gun mounts, bow ladders, and folding tops for access under low bridges.
RIBCraft manufactures professional-grade rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) for law enforcement and military agencies starting at 15 feet in length. These rescue boats featuring heavy-duty inflatable tubes are used for search and rescue and maritime interdiction, among other uses.
Silver Ships Inc. manufactures custom aluminum boats ranging in size from 21 to 65 feet long for the military, municipalities, and commercial users. Its Freedom Series vessels come in lengths of 21, 25, and 36 feet and are constructed of all-welded marine grade aluminum, featuring an ergonomically designed platform for single-officer operation.
Willard Marine develops watercraft for the military, Department of Homeland Security, and law enforcement agencies. It is also the exclusive builder of vessels originally designed by SeaArk Marine and Crystaliner. Willard’s more contemporary 33-foot Crystaliner design includes new electronic systems and upgraded hull construction.
Editor's note: This article first appeared in the February issue of Police Magazine.