At the Ford Arizona Proving Ground, four law enforcers — Officer Terry Bykerk of the Grand Rapids (Mich.) Police Department, Officer Don Spence of the Dundee, (Mich.) Police Department, Lieutenant John Leas of the San Diego (Calif.) Police Department, and Staff Sergeant Chris Whaley, Ontario (Canada) Provincial Police — put the Ford Police Interceptors to the test. They also tested vehicles from several competitors in a wide variety of settings. Be advised, these men were not paid for their participation, and their comments in the below series of videos are their own — their comments do not necessarily represent their respective agencies. During the intensive two-day session, the folks from Ford captured discussions and interviews with the officers and Ford engineers on video.
Ford's Next-Generation Police Interceptor
Officers Bykerk and Spence, Lieutenant Leas, and Staff Sergeant Whaley introduce themselves and then get to work testing acceleration, power, and performance of the new Interceptors on a 2.5 mile course.
Test Drive: Wet Pad
Officers Bykerk and Spence, Lieutenant Leas, and Staff Sergeant Whaley take on the wet pad, a smooth 2.5 acre surface covered in water. Those four police drivers tried hard to make these vehicles angry on this course — succeeding in some cases in getting into some gnarly over-steer situations.
Test Drive: Dog Bone
Ford engineers call the Dog Bone track “Arizona Snow.” They’ve used small pea-gravel to simulate snowy or low-friction conditions. The performance of the Interceptors on this course surprises Officers Bykerk and Spence, Lieutenant Leas, and Staff Sergeant Whaley.
Test Drive: City Pursuit
The city pursuit course consists of a tight, aggressive cone course that simulates the short streets and multiple intersections you’d find in any of Americas’ downtown areas. Bykerk, Spence, Leas, and Whaley put the breaking and steering capabilities of numerous competitors to the test.
Officer Safety & Protection
Built to withstand a 75-mph rear-impact crash, the new Ford Interceptor sedan and SUV have six airbags to protect the law enforcers in the cockpit (yeah, there’s safety features for the unhappy customers in back too). Another item that warrants attention is the option to add ballistic door panels that meet NIJ Type III standards.
Ford Police Interceptor: Purpose Built
The Ford Police Interceptor vehicles — both the sedan version and the SUV — were designed from the wheels up to meet the rigorous demands of police driving. The designers had officer safety and comfort in mind when they chose front seats that accommodate duty belts, and officer safety in mind when they added programmable, steering wheel-mounted controls, putting an array of in-car devices immediately at the driver’s fingertips.
Well, there you have it. In coming months, I’ll be posting a series of other articles — authored by yours truly as well as a handful of other PoliceOne Columnists led by my friend and colleague Travis Yates — which will examine all the new models of police vehicles available to law enforcers. If you’ve personally done some test driving or have had other, up-close and personal experience with the newest police vehicles hitting the streets and want to contribute a guest column, I’d welcome your email.