SERGEANT JAMES POST
P&SN presents its 25th annual report on the latest technical advances in police vehicles, components and aftermarket equipment.
Welcome to our annual transportation issue in which we report on all the newest LE vehicles and equipment as gleaned from the Annual Michigan State Police (MSP) Vehicle Evaluation, as well as annual events such as this year’s IACP Conference and Police Security Expo.
We’ll first report on the results of the MSP tests of the popular LE sedans, SUVs, trucks, and motorcycles, plus the first ever Electric Vehicle (EV) tests. This will be followed by a review of recently purchased EVs put into service, followed by a reveal of newly released emergency equipment, plus a special section on new protective vehicle equipment available for the safety of your officers. Lastly, this column will conclude with breaking news you won’t want to miss.
MICHIGAN STATE POLICE ANNUAL LE VEHICLE EVALUATION
2023 Sedan/SUV Evaluations
The Michigan State Police Precision Driving Unit conducted their first evaluation of LE vehicles in 1975 and those tests were attended by just five guests. In 2006, LE motorcycles were added. In the 47 years since those first tests, annual attendance has grown to several hundred LE representatives and the tests are now the standard for North American LE, as well as determining the coveted MSP “Pursuit” rating. Acceleration, top speed and braking of four-wheel vehicles were conducted September 17th at the Chrysler Proving Grounds in Chelsea, MI, while the motorcycles were tested September 17th at the MSP Precision Driving Track in Lansing, MI.
This year, Ford® submitted one electric vehicle for testing, the Mustang Mach-E AWD and those results will follow those of Internal Combustion Engines (ICE) and Hybrids.
Acceleration and Top Speed
This is easily the most popular competition among viewing spectators which answers the gearhead’s age-old question, “What’ll she do?” The track’s guardrails are standing room only for these tests. GM submitted four ICE vehicles, two Tahoes and two Silverados; Dodge® submitted four ICE vehicles, two Charger sedans and two Durangos; Ford brought three Police Interceptor® (PI) Utilities and one F-150 truck.
Our report will contain first, second and third place ratings in three categories: 0-60, 0-100 in seconds and top speed in mph. 0-60 represents time from a standing start on a shoulder or on-ramp and 0-100 represents an average time to overtake a violator. The rankings are as follows:
- 0-60 mph: 1st – Ford PI Utility 3.0L EcoBoost® (5.68 seconds); 2nd – Dodge Charger 5.7L RWD (6.01 seconds); and 3rd – Ford F-150 Responder® 3.5L EcoBoost (5.72 seconds). The slowest was the Dodge Durango 3.6L AWD at 8.65 seconds.
- 0-100 mph: 1st – Dodge Charger Pursuit 5.7L RWD (14.10 seconds); 2nd – Ford F-150 Police Responder 3.5L EcoBoost (14.6 seconds); and 3rd – Ford PI Utility 3.0L EcoBoost (14.74 seconds). The slowest was the Dodge Durango Pursuit 3.6L AWD at 24.11 seconds.
The top speeds are as follows:
1st – Ford PI Utility 3.0L EcoBoost (148 mph); 2nd – Dodge Charger 5.7L RWD and 3.6L AWD, computer limited at 140 mph; and 3rd – Ford PI Utility Hybrid and PI Utility 3.3L (136 mph). The slowest top speed was recorded by the two Silverados at 112 mph.
(Note #1: Many top speeds are computer limited by the manufacturer, resulting in ties. Note #2: All Ford PI Utilities are AWD.)
For nearly a century, America’s cops have patrolled, protected, served, caught bad guys, and delivered babies in sedans, over half being V-8 RWD with four doors. They have worn badges of all of the “Big Three,” with the top selling brands swapping the title every time a new model from the other guys appeared. Today, only one police sedan remains in production, the Dodge Charger Pursuit, as SUVs have become the norm for police work across the country and sales substantiate that. The Chargers have been able to hold on to strong sales, particularly with state patrols, but their future is anyone’s guess.
With that in mind, we thought you might like to have a head-to-head comparison of the LE SUVs tested by MSP this year. There were two Chevy Tahoes, two Dodge Durangos and three Ford PI Utilities.
On first glance, it’s almost like comparing apples, oranges and bananas. The Tahoes are the largest. They are available in RWD or 4WD and both are powered by the venerable 5.3L V-8. They have a loyal following in county agencies and state patrols needing storage and heavy load capacities.
Dodge Durangos fall somewhere in the middle (size wise) and are the newest models available. Their sales have been lackluster, primarily selling to departments with Charger fleets. They are available in two AWD configurations, powered by either the 5.7L V-8 or the 3.6L V-6.
The largest selling SUVs are the Ford PI Utilities and have been for several years. Ford has been consistent with their commitment to keep improving these units. Currently, all three models are standard with AWD. There are three powertrain options offered to customers – the 3.0L EcoBoost; the standard 3.3L; or the 3.3L HEV (Hybrid) gas/electric combo which features regenerative (self) charging.
The SUV results are in…the fastest SUV at 148 mph was the 3.0L PI Eco Boost Utility, the slowest was the AWD Tahoe at 124 mph and in the middle was the 5.7L Durango at 130 mph.
The best projected braking of the three was the RWD Tahoe at 127.70 feet; the 5.7L Durango was the worst at 137.70 feet; and the Utilities averaged 131.70 feet.
Keep on Truckin’
There were three pickup trucks submitted for testing this year. Chevrolet brought two Silverados (both in 4WD), the Z7X and the Z71 (off-road) package. Ford brought their F-150 Police Responder 3.5L EcoBoost to the party and it beat the Chevys in all of the acceleration categories, 0-60 (5.72 seconds), 0-100 (14.16 seconds) and top speed at 120 mph, while the Silverados’ 0-60 were in the mid 7s (in seconds), 0-100 in the high 18s (in seconds) and top speeds were computer limited at 112 mph.
Both Chevys did better than Ford in the braking tests, with projected stopping distances of 140.20 feet and 140.40 feet, while the F-150 took another 20 feet longer to stop at 162.20 feet.
The Electric Mustang Results
The Ford Mustang Mach-E drew a lot of attention as it was put through the same rigorous tests as the ICE and Hybrid competitors and the results were surprising to most in attendance. The electric Mustang bears little resemblance to the 58-year-old nametag it wears. Other than the pony graphics adorning the slab front and rear panels, it’s certainly not your dad’s Mustang.
The pocket rocket achieved a 0-60 time of 3.93 seconds and a 0-100 time of 12.23 seconds, both faster than every competitor. The top speed was a respectable 122 mph, well below the Utility and the Charger. The Mustang’s projected stopping distance was 122.80 feet, the best of all the competition.
The jury is still out on the feasibility and reliability of the Mustang as a viable fleet vehicle at this time. It does boast a fully charged range of 300 miles and several are being field-tested at this time, but certainly lengthy, all-season, real-world LE testing is in order.
Vehicle Brake Testing
Most experts argue the braking tests are even more crucial than speed as they represent the projected distance to stop a police vehicle. The results represent the average of three 60-0 mph decelerations, recorded in feet. The results are as follows:
In first place with the shortest projected stopping distance was the Tahoe RWD at 127.70 feet; in second was the RWD V-8 Charger at 129.60 feet; and in third place was the V-6 AWD Charger. The worst vehicle was the Ford F-150 Police Responder (162.20 feet). That’s over 34 feet further than the first place finisher or nearly two car lengths.
2023 MOTORCYCLE EVALUATIONS
There were only three LE motorcycles submitted for testing this year, a BMW R 1250 RT-P and two from Harley-Davidson®, the FLHTP and FLHP. The acceleration and top speed results follow.
Acceleration and Top Speed
The fastest 0-60 and 0-100 were both posted by the BMW at 4.10 seconds and 9.41 seconds, respectively. The H-D® FLHTP posted the second best 0-60 at 5.31 seconds, while the FLHP recorded third place at 5.43 seconds. In the 0-100 mph results, the Harleys swapped positions, second going to the FLHP at 18.12 seconds and third going to the FLHTP at 19.05 seconds.
The BMW recorded the top speed at 136 mph, while the Harleys recorded identical top speeds (likely computer governed) at 110 mph.
The BMW also recorded the best projected stopping distance of 133.80 feet, while the H-D FLHTP was second at 141.20 feet and the FLHP was third at 141.70 feet.
SURFING THE NEW GREEN ELECTRIC VEHICLE WAVES
A seemingly never-ending fossil fuel shortage resulting in exorbitant prices at the pump have fueled (pun intentional) a rush to electric and hybrid vehicles around the world and LE fleets are joining the mass exodus from ICE vehicles. This is despite the fact that EVs have a greater reported poor quality rating than ICE vehicles, as reported in a study published June 28, 2022, by J.D. Power.
Based on owner and lease reports (complaints), the PP100 (Problems Per 100 vehicles) was an average of 175 PP100 for ICE vehicles, compared to higher PP100 scores of 239 and 240 for hybrids and EVs (respectively). Because of Tesla’s dominance in the field, they were studied separately and received a slightly better PP100 rating of 226. Overall, when compared to the 2021 study results, the electric market experienced an 11% increase in complaints.
Both new and continuing electric models increased in complaints this year, although new vehicles received the most. The problems can be attributed to several factors: 1) launch (new) vehicle complaints have increased every year since 2021; 2) mass market vehicles (base models) experience fewer problems than premium models; 3) infotainment systems remain the most problematic area; 4) driving assistance issues continue to grow. (The most problematic system is Lane Departure Warning/Lane Keeping Assistance.); and 5) continuing supply chain delays and disruption, especially the microchip shortage, have caused automakers to seek alternative solutions to get new vehicles delivered and, in some cases, new vehicles are being shipped without some microchip controlled features installed. This results in consumers being notified to return to their purchasing dealers at a later date so that their “new” vehicle can be finished. This is further complicated by the fact that not all dealerships (primarily smaller, remote ones) have mechanics trained in electric vehicle repair.
The recent Hurricane Ian revealed more electric vehicle issues. The mass evacuation of millions of residents turned interstates into virtual parking lots and scores of electric vehicles were abandoned when their charges were depleted. Another problem which applies to coastal areas was discovered, too. Nonelectric vehicles can normally keep moving when flood water is as deep as the floorboards; however, since electric vehicle batteries are the lowest portion of the vehicle, they can “drown out” in several inches of salt water, sometimes causing them to spontaneously erupt in flames, causing increased danger to first responders and occupants.
READY OR NOT, THEY’RE HERE
Despite dire warnings, less than positive performance experiences and a critical shortage of US charging stations, American LE departments continue to purchase electric vehicles, seeing them as the only possible future of LE vehicles. Of course, some have no choice due to their city, state or federally mandated death to fossil fuel deadlines, but many are entering this brave new world on their own. Following are some of the latest.
Boulder City, NV, Police Department
The Boulder City Police Department is embarking on an EV pilot program, partially because of the waitlist of ICE vehicles needed to replace its high mileage fleets. Funded primarily by money from the American Rescue Plan Act, the initial purchase will be two Tesla Model Ys, two Tesla Model 3s and one Ford Mustang Mach-E.
Cobb County, GA, Sheriff’s Office
Cobb County has announced its purchase of the first “All-Electric Prisoner Transport Van” in the United States. The 2022 Envirotech Cutaway/Logistics Van comes outfitted with a Prisoner Transport Upfit. The sheriff’s office says it purchased the van to reduce operating cost, reduce cost per mile and reduce the county’s carbon footprint. The van is reported to travel 200 miles on a full charge; however, Cobb County, home of the Atlanta Braves, is the third most populous county in Georgia and covers 345 square miles.
Cotati, CA, Police Department
The police department was the first in Sonoma County to put an electric police patrol in service, a Tesla Model Y. Its purchase follows the city council’s commitment to greenhouse gas reductions, including recent actions to prohibit the construction of new gas stations throughout the city. Even with the higher initial purchase costs, it feels that the Tesla will be less expensive overall, resulting in less gas and maintenance expenses.
Fredericksburg, VA, Police Department
After studying data on the benefits of changing to hybrid vehicles, the Fredericksburg PD purchased three Ford PI Hybrid Interceptors last month, with five more ordered for next year. It anticipates the vehicles will bring significant fuel savings, improved performance and reduced carbon emissions when compared to traditional ICE police vehicles. It found that the Interceptors benefit from an idle reduction feature (when running the HVAC system) because the gas engine will idle less while the battery powers the police radio. It has found the average patrol vehicle consumes 663 gallons of gasoline annually, half of which is consumed while idling.
Newport, OR, Police Department
The Newport, OR, city council authorized $125,188 to purchase and equip two 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning™ Pro pickups for the police department. (This includes a 16.14% increase in pricing, or $16,000, recently announced by Ford.) This amounts to $62,594 for each electric truck, fully equipped and outfitted by Wireworks LLC. It also has carryover funds from 2021 of another $61,000 to purchase a hybrid AWD vehicle (unspecified make).
ONE STOP SHOPPING FOR ELECTRIC LE VEHICLE EQUIPMENT
Setina Manufacturing Company, Inc.
The good folks at Setina Manufacturing recognize the potential of electric LE vehicles and have been burning the midnight oil developing quality equipment to fill a void in EV equipment sources, realizing that one size does not fit all when it comes to these three uniquely different branded EVs. They have complete catalogs for three: the Chevy Bolt, the Ford Mustang Mach E and the Tesla Model Y and we’ve included a shopping list for all three.
Currently offered for the Bolt, Setina has LED lighted push bumpers, Model PB450L, which are factory preassembled from aircraft-grade aluminum and are prewired for LED perimeter lighting. Their Single Prisoner Transport System consists of Single Transport Partitions and includes a full roll bar-type framework with a vinyl coated expanded metal vented divider for ventilation and Setina’s Single and Double T-Rail weapon mounting system which is designed for versatility and ease of access with a choice of multiple lock choices.
Ford Mustang Mach-E
Setina’s Center-Pull Seat Belt System for the Mach-E is designed and tested to meet federal standards while their Console Series focuses on the maximum use of cabin space and provides the officer with a comfortable workspace. Setina’s Single Prisoner Transport System Partition provides a secure area for the detainee while providing driver comfort. Weapon mounts offer secure and convenient storage for one or two weapons using their Single and Double T-Rail Mounting System. Setina push bumpers, combined with the latest LED perimeter lighting, are prewired and preassembled with Impact Resistant Fender Protectors for the Mustang.
Tesla Model Y
Departments buying Tesla Model Ys will be pleased to find a variety of equipment specifically designed for them and ready for delivery. Their Transport Seating features their exclusive Center Pull Seat Belt System. The Single Prisoner Transport System options include weapon mounts and accessory storage, while the Tesla console emphasizes an efficient layout. Setina’s VaultLock provides secure firearms storage and their Series PB405L Push Bumpers offer LED Perimeter Lighting and Impact Resistant Fender Protectors.
Setina is also celebrating their upcoming 60th anniversary, as their founder, the late John R. Setina, created the first roll bar/prisoner partition in the industry in 1963 while working as a vehicle repair specialist for the Washington State Patrol.
NEW EQUIPMENT REVIEW
LIGHTS AND SIRENS
CODE 3, Inc.
The newest product from CODE 3 is their surface mount CD3511 LED warning light which is only 0.5″ deep and features 36 flash patterns in five colors in single or dual color options. This light can be mounted virtually anywhere on a vehicle.
Federal Signal recently released their new MicroPulse® Ultra flush mount, low profile warning lights in five versions (dimensions) available in single and dual color models in five colors which can be synchronized to their Pathfinder® Siren.
Designed for either interior or exterior use, the new mpower® Traffic Controller, from Soundoff Signal, utilizes the same six inch module silicone lenses as their mpower Lightbar. One of the best new features of this light is its ability to support traffic control in all facings via separate controls for each direction. The mpower Traffic Controller is available in lengths of four, six, eight, or ten modules, with the eight module version available as split or full. LED colors include red, amber, blue, green, and white, and feature a number of warning or arrow/patterns.
Launched in 1992, SoundOff Signal began as a manufacturer of small motorcycle flashers, but quickly branched out to include lighting products for emergency vehicles. By the early 2000s, they were providing high-tech safety solutions for first responders worldwide. This year, the over 400 employees at SoundOff Signal are celebrating the company’s’ 30th anniversary.
Whelen Engineering Co., Inc.
Whelen’s new Edge® 9X Lightbar Series combines aspects of their most popular lightbars with a new look and expanded customization. There are models available in both short and tall in a retro design. They are available in two lengths and in a selection of light patterns.
Their newest control system, the Core-S Light and Siren System, is designed to be installed in a console or under a dash and the connector placement accommodates hard to reach areas. The fully customizable system features siren, input/output and control functionality in one compact box along with an integrated control head.
CONSOLES AND STORAGE SOLUTIONS
Havis has introduced a vehicle-specific angled console for the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning truck in both Pro and XLT trim levels. They provide 20″ of total equipment mounting space in a nine inch wide section and 13″ total equipment mounting space in a 3.3″ wide section. These consoles include a mounting kit which mounts them between seats and also fits the lower dash contour. Options include cup holders and side mount arm rest.
Jotto Desk has introduced Cargo Cover/Equipment Trays for the 2021+ Chevy Tahoe (#475-1850) and the 2021+ Ford PI Utility (#475-1865), designed to provide a solid horizontal divider in the vehicles. The upper/top sections provide an area for mounting expensive communication, video and lighting equipment which uninstalls easily for service, while retaining the lower section for personal or critical gear such as SWAT weapons and accessories.
Lund Industries, Inc.
Lund’s all-new SF-21TAH SubFloor Cargo Storage System for the 2021+ Chevy Tahoe expands the rear storage area, allowing you to securely stow equipment, radios, weapons, and more. It creates a slightly raised level floor in the cargo area allowing for “SubFloor” storage with two hinged locking compartments. The rear compartment can be used for weapon and equipment storage while the front compartment is ideal for radios or additional gear storage. It is designed to work with or without a rear cargo partition and mounts to OEM mounting points.
The Drone Responder 7 (DR7) is a command display platform which features a two drawer configuration, one for drone storage and one for drone parts storage, and secure pushbutton and T-Handle locks. It provides an integrated articulating monitor mount, along with a low-profile radio and power panel mounted lengthwise to preserve rear visibility. Made with MDO, a strong, heat-resistant material which is highly customizable, it includes a heavy-duty hinged table extension with storage below.
New from Tufloc is their TufBox Storage Bin constructed of high density plastic which is designed to fit under the TufBox Drawer, but can also be used as a stand-alone organizer in the rear of SUVs and cruisers. It comes complete with a set of dividers and a hinged cover is available.
Brother Mobile Solutions
Brother Mobile Solutions recently launched a selection of next generation, full page PocketJet 8 Series printers designed to print in seconds with up to 13.5 pages per minute speeds and a 75% reduction in time. It is compatible with a wide range of operating systems, including a plug-in which allows users to print without drivers or apps and features high-resolution print technology for detailed printing – everything from small fonts and fine images to detailed images.
Digital Ally®, Inc.
Digital Ally has unveiled their new in-car video system, the EVO-HD, which maximizes space and offers top end reliability paired with remote access and service capabilities. With built-in, patented VuLink®, the EVO-HD captures multiple recording angles in sync with body-worn and in-car camera systems. It can support up to four HD 1080p cameras and dispatchers can automatically start a recording of any device remotely and can record up to the previous 60 seconds.
Gamber-Johnson has announced their new docking solution for the Panasonic TOUGHBOOK® 40 laptop which features full and lite port replication options. The docking station is designed close to the footprint of the computer to preserve cabin space with a composite design for reduced weight and increased durability. It reduces road vibrations through bumpers and a rugged latching system to keep it secure, eliminating the hazard of becoming a projectile in an accident. An LED indicator light reflects docking connection status to ensure proper docking.
Gamber has also introduced new pedestal mounting solutions for the 2017+ Tesla Model 3, 2022+ Ford F-150 Lightning, 2022+ Ford Mustang Mach-E, and the 2017+ Chevrolet Bolt. These install easily and provide a space efficient platform for computers and other devices.
Printek’s latest full page printer is the Interceptor 80 (I80) which provides officers in the field the ability to print tickets or reports faster and easier and the sleek design allows it to fit into most available printer mounts. It is compatible with Bluetooth®, USB or Wi-Fi and comes with serrated tear edges and a two year warranty.
POLICE OFFICER SAFETY
Never before have American police officers suffered more at the hands of criminals. They have been attacked with swords, hatchets, overpowered by gangs, and shot with firearms of all calibers and configurations. Their deaths, and the corresponding national crime wave, are a concern to all responsible American citizens. Our finest have been ambushed on radio calls, car stops, search warrants, and bogus “SWAT” calls. Some officers have even been killed on their first few days on the job. Bullet-resistant armor alone can only provide some protection as many officers have been attacked in their vehicles without even an opportunity to exit and defend themselves.
Fortunately, some American companies are stepping up to save our officers’ lives. This section will present a variety of safety-related products.
Hardwire offers Level lllA B-Kit armored door panels and Level lllA+ transparent armor window inserts originally developed in a trial program with the NYPD. The program was so successful that it was rolled out citywide and was expanded to the Philadelphia PD five years ago. The expenditure for the B-Kit and window insert is roughly $3000 per door and the two ballistic items not only protect the occupants from gunfire, but also shield officers from thrown items such as cinder blocks, bricks, stones, and water bottles filled with concrete, and may even add strength to the vehicle during a side-impact collision.
Vehicle door armor uses the same technology as the US Military and is made from Dyneema®, and sometimes Spectra®, and is bolted directly to the door. The window armor is made of laminated polycarbonate (not glass) and the door and glass protection typically adds about 25 pounds to each door.
Pro-gard Products, LLC
Pro-gard has two new products designed to protect officers, the first being their Retractable Outboard Seat Belt Options for Prisoner Transport Seats, making it safer for officers when securing prisoners for transport. These eliminate the need for an officer to reach across the prisoner to secure them in the vehicle. Currently, they are available for the 2021+ Chevy Tahoe and the 2021+ Ford PI Utility.
Pro-gard’s latest advancement in exterior vehicle protection is their bolt-on HD Fender Wraps for the 2021+ Chevy Tahoe and the 2021+ Ford PI Utility. They are available for delivery now and bolt directly to the Pro-gard HD Push Bumpers, if so equipped. They have five inches of pushing surface and protect the widest area of the vehicle’s front end.
Stopping an LE vehicle and avoiding accidents is a constant concern for fleets and, sometimes, OEM equipment is not up to the task, particularly on high mileage units. Raybestos Police disc brake pads and rotors are manufactured specifically to meet the demanding needs of law enforcement professionals. Specific pursuit-rated friction formulations for high temperatures provide fade-resistant operation and stopping power during high-speed applications. Their zinc-plated backing plates provide corrosion and shear resistance, and improved shim technology offers even greater noise damping. Custom rotor designs with unique vane configurations also cool the brakes in pursuit situations.
NEWS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED BECAUSE YOUR EV BATTERY WAS DEAD
Able 2 Products Turns 50
Tucked away in the small southwest Missouri town of Cassville, Able Two Products Company produces lights and sirens under the SHO-ME® brand name.
The company was started by Jerry Watley in 1972 with two employees and two products. Today, they have grown to over 100 employees who manufacture and distribute over 300 different public safety products worldwide.
One of Able 2’s best-selling items is their exclusive LED rechargeable cordless light which features two modes – spot or flood. It is fully charged in five hours with a runtime of up to 50 hours and a bulb life of 100,000 hours. Thousands of these emergency lights have been donated to first responders working natural disasters (such as hurricanes and tornados) across the US.
Safe Fleet Acquires Police Upfitter Kerr Industries
Safe Fleet of Belton, MO, (a Kansas City suburb) announced the acquisition of Kerr Industries and its subsidiary, Crown North America, who are the leading vehicle upfitters serving the emergency and law enforcement markets in North America. With 1800 employees and upfit locations in Toronto, Dallas, Detroit, and Chicago, the merger with Kerr expands Safe Fleet’s operation to 15 manufacturing locations and 13 service centers.
Specializing in upfitting OEM vehicles, Kerr and Crown’s business model was based on the fact that new LE vehicles were dropshipped directly to their facilities and customers could order from a variety of their packages directly from their local dealer. The company built out more than 110,000 Crown Victoria police vehicles from 2001 until the end of CVPI production in 2011.
This merger should substantially improve delivery of new police vehicles to departments in dire need of replacement vehicles for aging fleets across the country.
Has Your Cat Gone Missing?
I’ve previously reported on the pandemic of catalytic convertor thefts across the country and now the thieves have struck in our own backyard. On September 12, a San Francisco police officer discovered a fully marked SFPD truck had its catalytic convertor stolen by a thief during the night. Further investigation discovered that another marked police truck and two marked police vans also had their cats stolen. The irony was that the four units were parked outside the Special Operations Bureau building which houses the SWAT Team and Bomb Squad!
The enterprising thief figured, “What the hell, I’m here already, and the cats are cold, so I’ll just take them all.” Experienced thieves armed with battery operated reciprocal saws can cut a convertor off faster than you and I can zip tie a shoplifter. And, unlike today’s stock market, the value is amazing and never goes down, prompting estimated worldwide convertor thefts to increase 1000% in two years. But, we are winning a few battles, just not the war. Consider the following story from Beaverton, OR.
Police stopped a suspect with more than 100 stolen convertors worth about $80,000. That led police to an accomplice whom detectives alleged was the head of a theft ring which shipped large boxes of catalytic convertors to the East Coast and overseas. Subsequent searches by cops of eight locations discovered 3,000 convertors, hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, expensive cars and jewelry.
There are now devices available which mechanics can add to ICE vehicles to deter, or at least slow, thieves from cutting cats off. There are numerous YouTube videos online showing techniques to protect this very expensive piece of equipment. Still, the best tips are: 1) of course, park inside whenever possible; 2) engrave your VIN on the convertor; 3) park in well-lit areas; and 4) invest in a good motion detecting alarm.
Sergeant James Post welcomes your feedback with comments and suggestions. He can be contacted at email@example.com.