Ann Arbor's Police Patrol Vehicles
For officers and their passengers, bigger is better.
by Bob & Jorja Feldman
From the August, 2017 issue
Outside, any season, any hour of the day or night, Ann Arbor Police Department patrol vehicles are on the road. To learn more about them, we turned to veteran police lieutenant Renee Bush of the Special Services Unit.
Like the rest of America, the AAPD is buying fewer sedans and more SUVs. Lt. Bush tells us that most of the department's twenty-plus patrol vehicles are now Ford Police Interceptor Utility SUVs (based on the Explorer) or Chevy Tahoe PPVs.
Why? SUVs have more space. Some patrol officers are well over six feet tall. All wear body armor, radios, videocameras, and a Sam Browne belt replete with the tools of the trade: handgun, extra ammo, handcuffs, and Taser.
The front seats serve as a "virtual office," says Bush, with a laptop attached to a fixed mount, controls for flashing lights, a panel that permits selection from a large variety of siren sounds, a dispatch radio, a PA system, and a citation printer. There is also a video system--screen, controls, and forward-facing camera--and traffic radar with both front and rear antennas. The officer can toggle back and forth between the two, catching a speeder coming or going. A menacing-looking rifle is racked and locked.
As for accommodations for those invited along for a ride, the rear seat is one solid piece of hard molded plastic. It's waterproof, with no cracks to conceal contraband, but does have indentations and seat belts designed for passengers whose hands are cuffed behind their backs.
The vast majority of patrol vehicles are fully marked; the SUV in our photo, a 2017 Ford, has a light bar on top and police logos on both sides. The sedan is Ford's classic Police Interceptor, based on the now-discontinued "Crown Vic." It is "semi-marked," with no external lights, and identification only on the passenger's side.
This is an older vehicle. Like the AAPD's remaining patrol cars, once it reaches six years or eighty thousand miles, it will be replaced with a black semi-marked SUV.
from Calls & Letters, September 2017
No sooner had we written about the Ann Arbor Police Department's shift from sedans to SUVs (Outside, August) than stories appeared nationally about dangerous carbon monoxide leaks in Ford Police Interceptor Utility vehicles like the one we photographed. AAPD Lt. Renee Bush reports that Ann Arbor's were all checked and no problems were found--but just in case, they're now equipped with carbon monoxide detectors.
[Originally published in August, 2017.]
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