Cabarrus

Concord's new police car to debut in March

The 2013 Ford Police Interceptor sedan made its debut in Concord last week, but the city's new fleet won't hit the road until March.

Concord is the first city in the U.S. to purchase a fleet of the Ford Motor Company vehicle, which is manufactured in Chicago. Concord spent about $633,000 to buy 27 of the pursuit-rated cars for the police department.

Daniel Nuckolls, the city's fleet manager, said the vehicle delivers better performance, handling and fuel economy than the former cruisers, and will reduce city costs.

"It's the only front-wheel-drive V6 police car built now," said Nuckolls.

"It benefits us because we have nearly 200 police cars, and two or three miles per gallon can add up to tens of thousands of dollars in fuel savings."

Nuckolls and other officers also like the car's upfit package, which includes a sliding tray in the trunk for storage, and a cockpit designed for mounting additional equipment.

City workers will upfit the vehicles with equipment consoles, radios, siren controls, speakers and emergency lighting. Partitions will go between the front and rear seats. The city's sign shop makes the decals and stripes the cars.

"It can take awhile for an order as large as 27 vehicles to be on the road," said police Maj. Allen Overcash.

"I think the past average has been about two vehicles per week once the installation of stuff begins. Cars going offline have to be stripped of equipment as some of the old stuff, like radios and siren controls, is transferred to new vehicles. We use whatever we can that will fit in a new body style of vehicle."

Police Chief Guy Smith called the new cars impressive and said each car should last about seven years, or 100,000 miles.

"We're certainly pleased with what we see today," he said.

"The tray in the trunk, the cockpit of the car is set up to install the different types of instruments we use. It's nice."

The vehicles are rear-crash test rated for 75 miles per hour; ballistic doors are an option; and parts of the frame are reinforced with Boron, the second-hardest substance next to diamonds.

The brakes, tires and wheels also are specially designed for police duty.

It comes in a sedan, and as a utility vehicle, which can be ordered with a choice of three V6 engines with more horsepower and better fuel economy than the widely used Crown Victoria.

"I like its rear-impact sustainability," said Maj. Wendell Rummage.

"The passenger compartment also is pushed forward, and there's more space to help officers get people in and out of the vehicle more easily.

"We also were looking for fuel efficiency because we want to keep our fuel expenses to a minimum and be responsible to the taxpayers."

The base V6 has 280 horsepower. Ford's EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 has 365 horsepower.

The utility, or SUV-style model has a V6 with 300 horsepower. Standard all-wheel drive increases safety during high-speed pursuits.

Maj. Overcash said the majority of the cars ordered will be white, but cars for investigators and administrators will look different.

Police agencies that tested the vehicles commended their acceleration, handling and braking.

To watch active-duty police officers put the Interceptor through a series of performance tests at Ford's Arizona test facility, visit www.ford.com/fordpoliceinterceptor.

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