THE WHEELS OF JUSTICE September/October 2022

Police vehicles and gas pump



Break out the donuts, boys, and I don’t mean Krispy Kremes. I’m talking about the donut spares in your trunks. 

Due to too many reasons, for only the second time in history, American police departments are running on three flat tires and fumes from a tank of unleaded gas and some are considering drastic changes in their service delivery. Our police are underfunded, understaffed and are certainly an endangered species as assaults, ambushes and murders of America’s Finest are at all-time records. In addition, with resignations and retirements setting records, the number of declining recruitments will not be sufficient to fill current vacancies for years to come. 

On top of all of this doom and gloom, factor in the critical level of fleet replacements departments across North America are facing – new models are being built at a snail’s pace due to microchip and other component shortages. Used vehicle prices have tripled and fleet buyers are facing a three-way intersection of which road (power source) to choose in the future: internal combustion, hybrid, or electric.  Surrounding each choice is a witch’s brew of facts; innuendo; rumors; and, unfortunately, politics. We’ve written about this topic before, but new information is coming at us faster than the time it takes to consume a precinct pizza at lunchtime.

In this installment, we’ll again walk you through the quagmire of data as we do our best to help you make educated vehicle choices. We’ll report on new fleet vehicle options; give you examples of who’s buying what; and give you the latest list of recalls.

What’s New on the Electric Horizon?

Ford and GM are in a bumper-to-bumper race to build pursuit-ready EV police vehicles, jumping completely over hybrids, preferring all-electric.


Back in July, Ford unveiled the first electric pickup truck purpose-built for LE: the 2023 Ford F-150® Lightning Pro SSV. Of course, Ford already builds a very popular good selling hybrid, their Police Interceptor® Utility, but, in this case, they want to capitalize on their F-150 electric Lightning. The F-150 Pro SSV utilizes the interior features of their F-150 ICE (Internal Combustion Engine)-powered Police Responder, including heavy-duty cloth seats with built-in steel intrusion plates in the front seat backs. Their “Pro Power Onboard” can serve as a mobile power source to light up nighttime accidents and crime scenes and the Mega Power Frunk (in front) provides an extra 14.1 cubic feet of lockable storage.

The significant features of this truck are power and performance, including four second acceleration from 0-60 mph from the 452 hp battery and 580 hp with their optional extended range battery. Other features include the Automatic Emergency Braking and Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert. Ordering information, price and ETA have not been announced, nor have the range of their batteries.


In July, Chevrolet announced the 2024 pursuit-rated version of their all-electric Blazer EV (one of five Blazer models), called the Blazer EV PPV. The purpose-built PPV will feature the largest battery in their Blazer EV lineup and will be available in RWD or with a dual motor AWD version. The LE-specific interior will feature ample room to accommodate emergency equipment and gear. Based on the Blazer EV SS Performance model with AWD propulsion configuration, it will produce up to 557 hp, with an estimated 320 miles on a full charge.

The four Blazer EV models will tentatively wear MSRPs ranging from a base of $47,595 to $65,995 for the SS. No prices have been announced for the SSV, but since it is based on the SS, that’s likely a good place to start. The PPV is scheduled to begin production in Model Year (MY) 2024 Q1 and reservations are now being taken. They will be built in GM’s Ramos Arizpe, Mexico, facility.


Volvo has announced that their entire 2023 lineup will be either EV or hybrid and that they will be built in America. This is another step Volvo is taking toward offering only pure electric vehicles by 2030. The MY 2023 models are in production now.

“But, hold on a minute, Sarge!” I can hear you exclaim clearly over here in the Ozarks. “American police are either Ford, Chevy or Mopar®, so why are you bringin’ up Volvos?” Well, Volvo announced back in May that they are also building police package cars in EVs and hybrids which will be tested for pursuit use by the Michigan State Police this fall. The Volvo XC40 Recharge will be available in several versions which are ready now for custom order as a fully equipped, pure electric or hybrid police vehicle for American fleets. To differentiate them from retail models, they include a special chassis, suspension, brakes, and a 1200 pound capacity to handle the emergency equipment. 

The AWD dual motor XC40 has an EPA estimated range of 223 miles and delivers 402 hp and it is expected that the FWD version will deliver a range of 260 miles.

Volvo has produced police, emergency and light armored vehicles in Europe since 1929 and they are expanding their footprint in America. They offer full outfitting for police and emergency vehicles, with a tailored approach to suit each fleet’s needs.

We have no MSRP information at this time, but we know that Volvo is recognized worldwide for their emphasis on, and dedication to, safety and we are looking forward to the results from the MSP evaluations.

Who’s Buying What and Who’s Not?

We’ve put together a coast-to-coast review of various agency’s recent fleet choices to give you an overview of what’s happening in these difficult times.

The Baltimore, MD, Police Department recently rolled out their new fleet of Ford PI Utility hybrids which they hope will decrease downtime and lower both repair and fuel costs. The first delivery consisted of 38 units, with 42 more expected in the fall, with the total order completed this year. The hybrids will partially replace some of the PD’s 300 vehicles they describe as having exceeded their “useful” life cycle. They announced the new vehicles will allow officers to work more efficiently in a professional and safe environment. They are also upgrading emergency lighting, sirens and computer mounts which allow officers to work outside the vehicle.

The Hallandale Beach, FL, Police Department unveiled 13 new Tesla Model Y EVs for their fleet – 12 to be used by detectives and one to be tested as a patrol vehicle – thus becoming the largest fleet of EV police vehicles in Florida. They will complement the 2022 purchase of 49 hybrid PI units and will help the city’s commitment toward reducing their greenhouse emissions 50% by 2030. Funds from the American Rescue Plan Act partially covered the purchases.

The vehicles will be charged utilizing four dual port, Level 2 charging stations installed in the PD parking lot which will connect to backup power (generators) so they can remain operational in the event of hurricanes. They are also planning for officers to utilize the Tesla Supercharger network to charge take-home units.

The Leawood, KS, Police Department, an affluent 15.2 square mile Kansas City suburb, is replacing their PI Utility hybrids with all-electric Tesla Model Ys, as they feel that the hybrids are just not favorable for patrol use and they believe the Teslas will cost them about $648 a year to operate versus $4500 a year for the Fords.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) was pleased to finally take delivery of Dodge Charger and Durango Pursuits which have been on order for as long as two years. We’ve written several times about their very successful cruiser resale program and these deliveries could not have come at a better time because they have sold every used cruiser in their inventory to other departments all over the Midwest, leaving them without replacements in case of accidents or emergencies. The delays were caused partially by the microchip shortage, compounded by proper size tire shortage, but the new cruisers are now being marked and equipped (in-house) at a record pace.

The new MSHP Dodge fleet consists of all ICE vehicles – RWD and AWD Charger Pursuits – but only the RWD Chargers feature the 5.7 HEMI®s, much to the disappointment of some troopers; however, all of the AWD Durango’s are powered by the popular HEMIs. The mix also contains some new Mopar colors, as the MSHP has had a distinctive multicolored fleet since the sixties.

The New Braunfels, Texas, Police Department has opted to lease 30 new vehicles from Enterprise Fleet Management to replace their aging fleet. The purchase/lease includes (13) 2023 Tahoe RWDs, (14) 2023 4WD Tahoes, two Silverado PPV 4x4s, and one 2023 PI Utility AWD. Their chief stated that the new vehicles will increase officer safety because 15 of their older vehicles predate Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and 90 predate backup cameras. The purchase price for the 30 new vehicles and equipment will come to $1.7 million and the four year management agreement with EFM will be roughly $21,000 a year.

The NYPD’s newest addition to their fleet is the all-electric Ford Mustang Mach-E Sport Crossover. The NYPD purchased 184 earlier this year as part of a $420 million investment in fleet electrification. The Mustangs will all be put into service as patrol vehicles and charging stations are currently being installed at multiple department facilities.

The LE Mustang doors will have ballistic panels and windows supplied by Hardwire, a leading manufacturer of protective armor (

The standard Mach glass roofs will be replaced with steel roofs and they will wear the same traditional decals as all of the fleet. The Mustangs have already been put through the paces at the Chelsea Proving Grounds by the MSP and were the first electric police cars ever tested.  They reached 120 mph in under ¾ of a mile and reached 0-60 in an average of 4.03 seconds and 0-100 in an average of 11.94 seconds. Braking was also impressive with 60-0 in 125 feet, better than all of the Ford pursuit-rated SUVs.

The Spokane, WA, Police Department has ordered 46 PI Utility hybrids at a price of $3.1 million to replace the four electric Tesla Model Ys they have been testing since March, noting that it took several months to get parts needed to upfit the Teslas, including the cages, rifle racks, computer mounts, and other essential equipment. The upfitting cost for a Tesla starts at $30,000, whereas the PI Utility upfitting cost is about $8,000. They already have 14 Utilities on the streets.

The primary concern about the Teslas was officer safety and comfort. The laptop mount covers most of the dashboard where the car’s controls are located and it also impedes a second officer’s space. The Tesla’s frameless windows won’t allow mounting protective bars and the glass roof will not prevent a prisoner from an escape. Portland’s need for new vehicles is critical as more than 200 vehicles are eligible for replacement based on mileage and age.

The South Fulton County, GA, Police Department’s City Council has approved the purchase of 30 Ford PI Utilities which will replace an aging fleet of high mileage Fords and Dodges. The department will have $2.1 million to purchase the Utilities, as well as associated costs for radio communications, video cameras, upfitting, and graphics. Police Chief Meadows stated that having an updated fleet would lower maintenance costs and help the department keep a good inventory of vehicles in rotation.

The Waco, TX, Police Department started buying PI Utility hybrids two years ago and recently received approval to purchase 34 more in July. The department decided to continue with the Utility hybrids after issues with the Mustang Mach-E they purchased in April. The city manager reported officers were not able to power the lights, computer or other equipment the vehicle was outfitted with and it was transferred to the Department of Developmental Services.

Ford Safety Recalls

There are recalls on two of Ford’s new highly promoted and greatly anticipated all-electric vehicles, the Mustang Mach-E and the F-150 Lightning pickups. 

In a written notice in June, Ford told dealers to temporarily stop selling electric Mustang Mach-E Crossovers because of a potential safety defect which could cause the vehicles to become immobile (stop suddenly without notice). This effects 48,024 2021 and 2022 models which were built from May 27, 2020, to May 2022 at their Cuautitlan, Mexico, plant. The problem involves a potential overheating of the vehicle’s DC fast-charging, high voltage battery main contacts which is an electrically controlled switch for a power circuit. This scenario can result in a malfunction which could cause the car to fail to start or immediately lose power while in motion. Dealers can make the necessary corrections in the software.

The F-150 Lightning electric pickup recall is for 2900 units. Due to a reported software issue, the truck’s tire pressure system light may not illuminate when intended, thus failing to provide adequate low tire warning. A low tire inflation may lead to poor vehicle handling and a possible loss of control which increases the likelihood of a collision, Ford reports. The software fix is available at Ford dealers and will take about 20 minutes.

The Bottom Line           

While I’ll always be the last guy in line to “unplug” ICE powered engines because of the need to power over-the-road trucks, farm equipment, commercial airlines, and lawn mowers in America, I stand firmly by my recommendation to police departments: If you are seriously considering electric vehicles in the future, go with a proven hybrid first. This will afford you the opportunity to transition slowly into an all-electric fleet by installing an adequate number of chargers at your facilities (as you can afford them) and be certain there are enough off-site chargers to keep your officers mobile in the field. More importantly, by buying hybrids first, you will have the opportunity to monitor the performance (repairs, officer satisfaction, battery life, resale) of all-electric LE vehicles around the country before you make the plunge. Let the other guys go first.

James Post always appreciates your comments and suggestions for future columns. He can be reached at