The Baltimore County Police Department is replacing its patrol cars with SUVs over the next year.
 - Photo courtesy of the Baltimore County Police Department

The Baltimore County Police Department is replacing its patrol cars with SUVs over the next year.

Photo courtesy of the Baltimore County Police Department

The Baltimore County (Md.) Police Department has begun the transition from patrol sedans to SUVs. This is part of a major rebrand for the agency, which also includes a new police uniform.

The agency has used the Ford Police Interceptor Sedan since late 2013, as Ford Crown Victoria Interceptors were aged out of the fleet. The first round of replacements begins this month, with an order of 50 Ford Police Interceptor Utility (PIU) vehicles at a cost of $2.6 million. SUV replacements will continue in phases until all 252 vehicles are replaced. This transition is expected to be completed in May 2020.

At a press conference, Baltimore County Chief of Police Terrence Sheridan noted that the decision was made after Ford announced it would discontinue the Police Interceptor Sedan. Sheridan noted that the vehicle change inspired the uniform change, which is more casual and comfortable than the agency’s old uniforms.

To prepare for the vehicle change, four PIUs have been assigned to the Baltimore County Police Training Academy, which is training officers on the functionality and use of the vehicle in a hands-on driving course. All members of the agency will complete a driver training course with the SUV, including practicing routine and high-risk traffic stops.

“It is important to ensure our first-class police department has first class, practical, flexible, and professional looking uniforms and vehicles. These changes continue that level of professionalism,” said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski. “Their vehicles are mobile offices and a necessity for officers to perform their duties. It was also fiscally prudent to purchase vehicles that have interchangeable pieces with our existing fleet.”

Each PIU is equipped with a laptop, police radio, light bar, emergency lights, shotgun and patrol rifle, electronic wiring, e-ticketing equipment, and a rear-view camera. It offers more head and shoulder room than the patrol sedan, additional cargo space, and comparable mileage. In addition, it uses many of the same parts that were used on the sedan.

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