After twenty plus years of service, the Wellesley Police Department regrets to announce the retirement of a veteran. This veteran has responded to every emergency in Wellesley since the early 1980’s, and can truly say that it has seen everything that the Wellesley Police Department has responded to. From our worst tragedies to our greatest triumphs, this veteran member of the Wellesley Police Department has worked countless shifts, often in a row without a break, patrolling the streets of town.
This veteran is, of course, the Ford Crown Victoria Police Cruiser.
It certainly wasn’t our decision to see the Crown Victoria retired from duty. Almost two years ago, the Ford Motor Company announced that the Crown Victoria would no longer be made after 2011. The Crown Victoria was the last full size American made police sedan on the market, and was well known for it’s reliability and durability. Nothing has arguably been more iconic, or lasted in severe duty service through the years than the venerable Crown Vic.
When Ford announced it would retire the Crown Victoria from service, Chief Cunningham began an extensive search to find a replacement cruiser for the department. “I was open to any manufacturer, and I went into this search with no predispositions. I wanted to find a cruiser that really met our needs in Wellesley. The bottom line for us was to find a cruiser that was safe, fuel efficient, and reliable.”
The department ultimately decided to try Ford’s replacement for the Crown Victoria, the brand new Ford Police Interceptor. The Police Interceptor only became available this year, and is a marked change from the Crown Victoria.
The Interceptor is based on a Ford Taurus sedan, and is smaller and sleeker than the Crown Vic. There are some immediate significant differences with the new Interceptor. Probably most noticeable is the all wheel drive system, which comes standard. The Crown Vic, being rear wheel drive, was sometimes difficult to navigate through snow covered streets. Wellesley officers would frequently have to put tire chains on the wheels of the Crown Vic to make it through the snow.
The interceptor was designed and built to keep a police officer safe should the unthinkable happen. The vehicle is built to withstand a 75 mile per hour rear end impact or crash. This was an important factor in the decision given the types and variety of roads that the Wellesley Police Department officers operate on.
The interceptor is also projected to be 25% more fuel efficient than the Crown Victoria, and uses almost 35% less fuel while idling. In today’s economy, with gas prices hovering at $4 a gallon, this was also a significant consideration when we opted for the Ford Interceptor.
Ford is also producing a police utility version of the interceptor vehicle, based on the Ford Explorer. Like the interceptor, the utility version has all wheel drive, increased fuel efficiency, and is actually on the same chassis as the interceptor. This design allows for standardized part replacement, reducing overall maintainence costs.
Over the course of the next few years, the Crown Victoria will gradually be phased out of the Wellesley Police Department’s fleet. While we are sad to see the Crown Vic go, we are excited about the benefits that the new Ford Police Interceptor vehicle has to offer.