Change is hard. Especially when you’re talking about changing a vital tool that you use for work every day. So it’s no surprise that the initial response to the next-generation Ford Police Interceptor sedan and utility vehicles has been mixed. Some officers are excited to try the new technology in these vehicles, while others are doubtful.
Ford made a bold move by recently inviting four police officers from around the U.S. and Canada to its Arizona Proving Grounds to experience the next-generation Ford Police Interceptor sedan and utility vehicles. No more guesses about how the new vehicles will perform. These are real police officers driving real police vehicles the way the will be used in the field. You can check out the videos at fordpoliceinterceptor.com.
Over the course of two days, the officers had the unique opportunity to drive prototypes of the Ford Police Interceptor sedan and utility, along with the current Ford CVPI, the Dodge Charger Pursuit and the Chevy Tahoe for comparison purposes.
To give you a look behind the scenes, we interviewed Lieutenant John Leas from the San Diego Police Department. A 34-year veteran, Lieutenant Leas is the regional Emergency Vehicle Operations training manager, managing EVOC training for basic academy and in-service police officers and deputy sheriffs from throughout San Diego County.
An EVOC instructor for 26 years, Lieutenant Leas serves on a number of Emergency Vehicle Operator Course (EVOC) related committees with the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, most notably the Safe Driving Campaign. He is also a certified law enforcement driving simulator instructor.
Here’s what he had to say:
theFordStory: When you first learned you were taking part in the test drive, what was your reaction?
I was excited to get an opportunity to preview these next-generation vehicles.
Going in to the test drive, what were your expectations? What did you think you’d be doing?
I expected to get the opportunity to test-drive all the major manufacturer’s police package offerings. I anticipated we would be doing a substantial amount of performance driving over the two days.
Did the test drive meet your expectations?
Yes, with one exception. I would have preferred more time behind the wheel truly putting the vehicles through a variety of challenges. We were limited due to the film production crew functions (interviews, equipment setup, etc.) and somewhat limited in track time availability.
Prior to taking part in the test drive, what was your perception of the new Police Interceptor?
I liked the looks of both the sedan and the sport utility but had concerns about interior cockpit room in the sedan.
What is your impression of the new Ford Police Interceptors after driving them?
The engineers did their homework and listened to their customers. I was most impressed with the sport utility – plenty of cockpit room, outstanding handling and power, versatility on- and off-road. Absolutely a fantastic package! The sport utility would be my top choice for our agency.
How do you feel the Police Interceptor would help make your typical day easier or more efficient?
It is comfortable, safe, extremely stable and the engineering built into it makes it easy to drive, even in a high-performance mode. By far the best vehicle I have ever driven!
What is the one thing you’d tell your fellow officers in regards to the next-generation Police Interceptor vehicles?
You have to test-drive them! They are phenomenal!
Overall, did you enjoy the experience?
Yes, very much so! Everyone was great to work with, the engineers were there to discuss product testing and design and the product was better than I could ever imagine. I was so impressed, I went out and bought a new 2011 Ford Explorer as my new family vehicle because I liked the design, the built-in occupant safety measures and the overall quality-control of a fine product. I was not disappointed, even though my new civilian model is quite different from the next-generation Police Interceptor platform – it’s still awesome!
Each officer had a chance to drive both Ford Interceptors and the competitors in a variety of settings, including a road course, a wet pad, an autocross course and a gravel pit (to simulate snow and other poor handling conditions). Additionally, Ford Police Interceptor development engineers were on hand to provide officers with in-depth explanations and information on the vehicles and the development process. The results of this intensive two-day session were captured on video and are now live on fordpoliceinterceptor.com.