NEW ULM - The New Ulm Police Department recently took delivery of three new 2014 Ford Police Interceptor Explorers.
The new all-wheel-drive sport utility vehicles are different than the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptors that were the most widely used automobile in law enforcement operations in the United States and Canada from 1997 into early 2010.
New Ulm Police Chief Myron Wieland said the Explorers get fuel mileage that is comparable to a Crown Victoria, cost about $5,000 more, have similar acceleration, but may not have quite the top-end speed.
Members of the New Ulm Police Department picked up three 2014 Police Explorers recently at Chuck Spaeth Ford in New Ulm. They NUPD Chief, far left; TJ Ibberson, center in uniform; and Jeremy Reed with K9 officer Juneau. Chuck Spaeth Ford employees shown are Alan Ahlrich, Michael Krueger, Mike Carr, Kathy Spaeth and Amy Mickelson.
"On paper, there isn't much more room in the Explorers; but in practice, there is considerably more room for the mobile data computers, digital electronic devices and weaponry we have now," Wieland said. "We do business a little different now days - using more stop sticks and radios than high speeds to stop people."
Wieland said it appears the Ford design team consulted with law enforcement in designing the Police Explorers to create equipment nuances like pre-installed, interior roof lights, a 75 mph rear-impact rating to reduce injuries and "ergonomically superior driver and passenger seating."
He said one of the new Explorers has an auxiliary climate control to help keep the department's K9 officer cool when it's hot outside.
Brown County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Jason Seidl said his department ordered two Police Explorers about a week after New Ulm Police did, so its new vehicles should be arriving soon.
"All three manufacturers - Fords, Chevrolet Caprices and Dodge Chargers - make good police vehicles," Seidl said. "Everyone has different needs. We have a split fleet with four Caprices and a couple Ford Crown Victorias, plus a Ford Expedition and an Excursion, all fully-marked with cages, radios and lights. Sometimes, you get tougher snow drifts in the country that require bigger vehicles."
Seidl said vehicle manufacturers are trying to make vehicles more fuel efficient to serve larger fleets. "The Explorers should have enough fuel efficiency to allow us to operate four vehicles for what it used to cost to operate three vehicles," Seidl said. "For larger fleets, that difference is really noticeable."
(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org).