As part of Chevrolet’s 100-year anniversary celebration Dec. 15-16 in Fort Worth, Texas, media were invited to ride along with the Fort Worth Police Department on its police pursuit course. The vehicles used by the Fort Worth Police, Chevrolet Tahoe Police Pursuit Vehicles (PPVs), begin the manufacturing process just like vehicles meant for consumers.
The vehicles destined for police departments across the nation start with the same frame, body, and engine transmission as their consumer counterparts. However, Chevrolet makes modifications to the vehicles to better fit the needs of the officers, said Erick Stanczak, chief engineer for Chevrolet.
After assembling the general frame and body of the vehicle, PPVs are built to handle high speeds and sudden and frequent stopping.
“We do that because the needs of the police officer for this vehicle are different than the needs of the general consumer,” Stanczak said. “They need to be able to do high speed pursuits. They need to [have] some different equipment that normal consumers don’t have in their vehicle, like sirens, flashers, lights, and their computer equipment.”
For the Chevrolet Tahoe PPV, tires are installed that are capable of handling speeds of up to 134 mph and the brakes are adjusted to handle frequent stopping at high speeds. The third row of seats is also removed to make room for gun racks and computer mounts.
The vehicles are equipped with a unique suspension tuning with dampers and springs that have been calibrated with specific spring rates and loads, said Stanczak.
“When we’re all set and done, the controls have to match that hardware so we have a special set of tuning we put on the chassis control system to make sure the vehicle handles well and is predictable at high speeds,” he said.
Additionally, electrical systems must be able to handle daily police operations. Chevrolet outfits its PPVs with an output alternator and an auxiliary battery, which help power the vehicle’s lights, computer system, and siren.
After Chevrolet has manufactured the base vehicles, they’re sent to an upfitter that installs special equipment, including gun racks and computers.