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Why Crown Vics are tops with cops
By BY LARRY PRINTZ, The Virginian-Pilot
© September 9, 2006


Maybe you haven't noticed, but it seems that every police officer drives a Ford Crown Victoria.
With more modern alternatives available, you have to wonder what law enforcement officials find so appealing about the full-sized, American car dating to the late 1970s.
Of the 62,545 Crown Victorias sold in 2005, 47,300 were Crown Victoria Police Interceptors - 80 percent of all police cars sold in the United States. Only 6,908 Crown Victorias went to retail buyers, with the remainder going to fleet buyers.
According to Tony Gratson, government sales manager for Ford Motor Company, the car is popular with law enforcement for what it offers: lots of space, rear-wheel drive and a V-8 engine.
"It's a larger car, full-sized. It's much larger than the Chevrolet police car. It has great visibility all the way around," explains Skip Webb, fleet manager at Hall Automotive in Virginia Beach. Webb sells fleet vehicles throughout Virginia, including police cars from all domestic manufacturers, such as the Dodge Charger and Chevrolet Impala.
"The Dodge has limited visibility to the rear. The Chevrolet Impala is not as large a car. Once you put a screen or a barricade behind the driver to protect the officer from whoever is riding in the back seat, it's very limited."
Cpl. Ollan Burruss, of the Norfolk Police Department, says this was a consideration when deciding whether to purchase Impalas.
"When we put the cage in there for the safety of our officers, the seats won't go back far enough. So larger officers have problems getting in and out of the car, and there are restrictions in the back seat. The amount of room they have in the back is limited."
Burruss also says the Ford has a presence that the Chevrolet lacks.
"When you're in the Crown Victoria, people tend to take notice. They're not running red lights, they're paying attention. The car stands out more, and that makes me feel more secure. Even in an unmarked Impala, people do all kinds of stupid stuff, and you're like, 'you know, don't they know I'm a police officer?"
Aside from space and presence, police need their vehicles to be durable - especially patrol cars, which run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Crown Victoria is built the same way as most trucks, using body-on-frame construction. This lends the Crown Victoria the durability to withstand the tough demands expected of it, while making it easier to fix than its competitors.
"It's a lot more expensive to repair a front-wheel-drive vehicle than it is a rear-wheel-drive vehicle," says Burruss.
"For a lot of front-wheel-drive vehicles, you've got to drop the transmission and pull the motor. If you have a problem with the driveshaft in a rear-wheel-drive vehicle, you put in new u-joints and you're on your way."
Police departments do buy vehicles other than Crown Victorias. In Norfolk, detectives usually drive Chevrolet Impalas. SUVs, such as the Ford Explorer and Chevrolet Tahoe, are bought for weather emergencies, since Norfolk's streets flood easily. Except for the rear-wheel-drive Tahoe, SUVs aren't pursuit-rated, limiting their usefulness.
Ford has maintained its leadership by setting up a police advisory board to suggest ways of improving the Crown Victoria for police use. This has led to such safety features, as a factory-installed fire-suppression system and ballistic door panels that provide protection from projectiles, including bullets.
It's also led to some extreme testing. Ford is the only manufacturer that rear crash tests their police car at 75 mph, to ensure the front-seat space remains intact in high-speed impacts.
While Ford changes the car to improve its performance or safety, the change is never radical. "Police departments want the car to stay the same, but they want it to improve. For instance, you don't want to make them buy new cages," explains Gratson.
Money is always an issue, not simply in equipping or maintaining the cars, but buying them as well. This is where the Crown Victoria holds the advantage, according to Burruss.
"From what I've been told, the average price is about $25-$26,000 for the Dodge Charger police package. Right now, it costs us $18,000 for a Crown Victoria. For the price of three Chargers, you can buy four Crown Victorias."
This adds up to a vehicle that most departments will continue to buy, according to Webb.
"It's been a good vehicle that's lasted a long time for the departments. They would really have to have a reason to change it. The other vehicles have not offered everything that the Crown Victoria does."
 

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The only issue I have with the Vic's is that they are probably terribly unefficient. It would be nice to see Ford develop a fuel cell or hybrid system for them.

Mark, what does your company car get for MPG?
 

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I dont know about them saying it doesnt put fear in you with other, If the charger was behind me, Id stop.



Other good points, Its better on gas, Its faster, and so what if the space in the back is smaller, where not bring people to the casino in them. They transporting prisoners, they dont need to be comfortable.
 

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They just need big trunks for cocaine, money and dead bodies 8)

They should make cop cars all bright pink so everybody can see them easily.
 

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It seems like a read a few news reports about Crown Vic Police Interceptors bursting into flames after rear end collisions. That could be a disadvantage for cars which spend a good deal of time parked on the shoulders of interstates.

Take a look
http://www.safetyforum.com/cvpi/
 

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Up here in ontario it seems that the local police department is buying a lot of chargers, and losing the impalas. I kinda laughed to myself when I first saw them, but I guess theyre(somewhat) good at what they can do, and they support local factories and companies. But its good to see the police buying faster cars and so forth. How about getting lambos like italy got (even if it is one ;p)
http://www.seriouswheels.com/2004/2004- ... 0x1440.htm
looks pretty nice to me : D

-Sulk
 

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sulk said:
Up here in ontario it seems that the local police department is buying a lot of chargers, and losing the impalas. I kinda laughed to myself when I first saw them, but I guess theyre(somewhat) good at what they can do, and they support local factories and companies. But its good to see the police buying faster cars and so forth. How about getting lambos like italy got (even if it is one ;p)
http://www.seriouswheels.com/2004/2004- ... 0x1440.htm
looks pretty nice to me : D

-Sulk
id like to be the officer in charge of driving that
 

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Police departments all over the place have their specialized high speed vehicles... that Lambo was a gift for the Italian police, California uses Corvettes, and I guess here in Arizona some departments are using confiscated streetbikes for chases (reminds me the of the show Fastlane).

I personally think the Crown Vic is "scarier" than any of the new varieties. With the percentage sold to departments, I find its usually a safe bet to avoid blowing past one.
 

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The charger is definately much more menacing looking than a 'Vic... and many times an intimidating presence can be VERY valuable id imagine.

And besides, it may deter crime MORE... how you ask? Well, think about it... who in their right mind wants to go to jail in a DODGE... you never know, it could break down, or fall off of a cliff or something while you're in it... maybe even blow up spontaniously.... or maybe it'll just give you some kind of weird disease just by having to ride in it... Regardless, its not something ajnyone would want to be part of..... so... yea.. it'll deter :p
 

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Hey Mark whats a "code 3 run" Officer in route to donut shop! :rofl:
 

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MarkWilliamson said:
We had a Dodge Charger here to test and everyone loved it. I didn't get an opportunity to drive it (I was on vacation)
Don't you think it's a striking coincidence that they tested one when you were out? :wink: :rolleyes1:

Up until a couple o fyears ago, the dutch police force had a whole fleet of Porsche 911's as highway patrol vehicles.
Nowadays they have volvo T5-R's. Don't be fooled by those. From a rolling start those volvo's will hang with just about anything you throw at them.
 

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I have done work in the Ford plant that bulids those. Its basically a 12 year old car. If a company wanted to build a new police car to blow it out of the water it wouldn't be very hard. The cost savings the Crown Vic has is the fact that it IS a 12 year old car so the equipment has been long paid off. Now they are just paying the Union... er... slackers.... er.... workers...
 

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Discussion Starter #17
My wife's parents own a Crown Vic ('03 or '04?). they are in their 70's and even they have gotten tired of the over-sized gas-guzzling barge.

They are looking to downsize- probably to a Hyundai Sonata.
 

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Ya know, I've always likes those crash bumpers - or whatever they are called - on the front of cop cars. I think it would be fun to mount one on a Rex... just in case you neede to spin another car out 8)
 
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