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New Cruisers Get High Marks from Ridgefield PD

After an intensive training last month, the new Ford Police Interceptors may become Fairfield County's next police cruiser standard.

After Ford’s discontinuation of the classic Crown Victoria last year, police departments around the country have been searching for the next new police car standard. Sticking with the tradition of using Fords for over 25 years, the Ridgefield Police Department opted to go with the Ford Police Interceptors, and apparently they drive like a dream.

 “[When] we did our drivers’ training, it rained really hard, but the only thing that slowed down the trainers was the windshield wipers. I’ve never seen anything like it. I was in awe. They make bad drivers good, good drivers better,” said Lieutenant John McAllister of the Ridgefield Police Department.

 The training McAllister refers to occurred over a two-week period last month, with over 200 officers from 15 different Fairfield County police departments. McAllister, a driving instructor and accident reconstructionist at the Ridgefield Police Department, led the training. Officers put six Interceptors to the test, speeding around curves and testing the vehicles to their limits on a closed course within a huge parking lot in Stratford so they would be prepared to use them in real, on-the-job situations. Several officers from Wilton, Westport, Trumbull and Brookfield volunteered to aide McAllister during the training, which he called “labor-intensive” and “hectic” but also fun.

Officers “knocked off a couple plastic parts and went through some tires” during the training, but other than that, there were no damages or injuries.

“All the officers who got behind the wheel were blown away by the performance,” he said. However, he also added that only time can tell if the Interceptors can withstand the strain and punishment of being a police cruiser without breaking down.  

The Police Interceptor sedan boasts a 365 horsepower twin-turbo V-6 engine with a top speed of 148 mph, much greater than the old Crown Victorias. Gas mileage is said to better by about two miles per gallon, according to the magazine Automobile’s June 2012 issue; McAllister said Ford claimed a 35-percent savings in gas with the new sedan. According to the Ridgefield’s Board of Finance Department, the two sedans currently in use by the Ridgefield Police Department cost $26,387 each. The department also purchased an Interceptor utility vehicle—which McAllister said is the Interceptor’s chasse but with a different frame—for $28,733.  Ridgefield Police also transferred radios, police lights, and other equipment from the old cruisers to the new Interceptors, and went through a third party for the Ridgefield Police paint job. While these services are all offered by Ford, the McAllister said they were trying to be cost-conscious of the Ridgefield tax payer and went the cheaper routes.

While a total of $81.5k for the three vehicles might seem expensive, purchasing new police vehicles is unavoidable. Without new Crown Victorias being made, spare parts will likely come into high demand and become harder to find—not to mention the inability to purchase a brand new one if a current cruiser gets totaled. Additionally, the Interceptor sedans and utility vehicles are made up of interchangeable parts, from the wheels to the seats.

Despite how well-designed these Interceptors may prove to be, the phasing out of the Crown Victoria still stings, especially for those who have worked with them for so long. The Interceptors have been a part of the Ridgefield Police Department’s approximately 10-car fleet for about four months now.

“We really loved the Crown Victoria, we had it forever,” said McAllister. “It’s an iconic figure—I say a ‘cop car’ and you know exactly what I’m talking about. People were sad to see it go.” He related it to a relationship: “It’s like going through a breakup. There’s a comfort period,” he said.

However, despite working with Crown Victorias for 25 years on the job, McAllister doesn’t miss the old cars at all. It appears that the new Interceptors might make their way into being the new cop car standard in Ridgefield.

“As long as they don’t break,” McAllister added. 

oldtimer September 26, 2012 at 11:46 AM
I can really see a need for a vehicle that can reach 148 MPH! Are they serious?
Eileen September 26, 2012 at 12:22 PM
Yeah, well, you know, they have to be able to keep pace with all the Porsches in town.....
Thomas Soukup September 26, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Oldtimer: There is an old saying that the bad guys can't outrun the police radio, yet there are times when pursuit demands high performance.While it is unlikely that the car will ever be required to reach its top speed, having the ability to close the gap during pursuits is essential. Unless the car's top end is governed, a higher top speed is often a by product of performance oriented cars. Is there a need, you bet. If this car gives the police the ability to catch a speeding drunk driver before he kills someone, then I would call this fulfilling the need. Your comment reminds me of the snail who was riding atop of a turtle. Unaccustomed to such speed, he excitedly cried out "wheeeee" Many of today's cars are faster than the muscle cars of the 60's, so all things being relative, a purchase price of $ 27,000 is quite reasonable in an effort to keep up with the bad guys.
Elmer Fudd September 26, 2012 at 03:30 PM
I think ridgefield taxpayers are being taken for a ride with these police cars. How many high speed chases have there been in ridgefield this year? Zero? And we don't want to see a high speed chase here either. Too dangerous for the other cars on our narrow roads. If a drunk driver takes off, let him, and as Thomas said, use the radio to call ahead and cut him off. And we have to buy new cars because parts allegedly will be hard to come by for the discontinued Crown Victoria? I call BS. Big time. Parts will be available for many years. That's the way it works. That's the way it always works. I think ridgefield buys these new police cars because ... you fill in the blank.
Thomas Soukup September 26, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Hello Elmer I agree on one point and that is the argument of not being able to get Crown Vic parts is pure bull chips. I don't agree,however, with your assessment of police pursuits. Although the radio can assist with many elements of crime, its not the end all. Once the police start giving felons a green light to escape during persuits,you will see an increase in related incidents. Yes there is risk, but the call to give chase is not our decision to make, it should be up to those who protect and serve. To use your logic, the police should not carry guns because they may accidently shoot an innocent bystander. We should not equip police based on what has not happened, but rather what we don't want to happen. To do otherwise is liberal, goody two shoe logic.
Thomas Soukup September 26, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Hello Elmer I certainly do agree with you regarding the argument that parts availability for the Crown Vic is specious at best . As far as police pursuits are concerned, we part company. The radio no doubt is instrumental in preventing crime but it has limitations. Police pursuits do pose some risk to civillian traffic but to suggest allowing fellons to escape will only encourage further incidents. To use your logic we should also disarm the police for fear the use of a gun may injure or kill innocent bystanders. Fortunately, the decision to give chase or use deadly force is up to those who protect and serve. Lastly, when purchasing cars and other equipment for police, it should not be based on incidents which have not occurred but rather those incidents we don't want to occur. To think otherwise is liberal goody two shoe logic.
Elmer Fudd September 26, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Not really my idea not to chase the DUI runner. This is the new wisdom of law enforcement across the country. They have found that in residential areas it does more harm than good in that too many innocent people were getting hurt. Empty back country roads is a different story, go get 'em Smokey, But in residential areas, no chases are becoming the norm. It is not my logic that police shouldn't be armed.
Thomas Soukup September 26, 2012 at 10:05 PM
Elmer: Happy to hear !
Marklouis September 27, 2012 at 09:15 AM
Nice post.
Jan Rifkinson September 27, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Come on, everyone. Liighten up !! This is a wealthy Fairfield County town. Everyone likes new toys. What's another $27k? Not a big deal. Divided by taxpayer base it's what.... like giving up 1 Starbuck's tall latte mochachino every 3rd week or so? It's a small sacrifice. Maybe it's tIme to stop being penny wise & pound foolish. A safe community will only attract more home buyers, force sale prices to go up so some of us can escape. Wheeeeeee !!!
Thomas Soukup September 27, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Well said! How was the turtle ride Jan?
Morris September 27, 2012 at 06:36 PM
I'm never qwuite sure what Rifkinsan is saying. He's for Schlumberger. He's against Schlumberger. He's for saving taxes, No, he is for buying more open space in Danbury Road for a silly pocket park. He is for these police cars. Or is it sarcasm and he is against these police cars. Who knows...
Jan Rifkinson September 27, 2012 at 11:59 PM
Very slow, Thomas.

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