The Berks-Mont News (http://www.berksmontnews.com)

State Police introduce new 4-wheel drive Interceptor


By Dan Clark, For Journal Register News Service

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Pennsylvania State Police are beginning the process of phasing out the old Ford Crown Victoria Model and are moving in the direction of a safer and more technological car.
The Ford Police Interceptor is modeled off of the Ford Taurus but is specifically made for police. Right now the State Police station in Reading has two cars and according to Trooper David Beohm, the Community Services Officer in the Reading precinct, the two interceptors are the first in the State Police System to be out on the streets.
The Interceptor is also made in the form of a sports utility vehicle with the only difference between the sedan and the utility vehicle is the size.
“Essentially, everything is the same on the inside,” Behom said.
Another important safety aspect that the Police Interceptor has over the Crown Victoria is that it is outfitted with level three ballistic door panels. That means that it can withstand most kinds of ammunition.
The interceptor is an all-wheel drive compared to the Crown Victoria which is a two-wheel drive. Beohm is also excited about the all-wheel drive aspect of the car which makes it much safer than the Crown Victoria, which is a two-wheel drive.
“You can drive it in 10 inches of snow, you just have to be a lot more careful with a two-wheel drive vehicle.”
This will make driving in bad weather conditions at high speeds much safer for the troopers.
One of the key differences in the interceptor is the smart wheel. From the wheel, troopers can activate the lights, where in the Crown Victoria, they have to reach in the center console to turn it on while driving which could prove to be fatal in the wrong circumstances.
Police lights come out from nearly everywhere in this car. The come from the headlights and the brake lights along with the siren on the roof of the car.
“If you can’t see this car coming, you’re probably blind,” Beohm said.
To help officers’ vision after stepping out of the car, the sides of the top police light turn off when the door is opened.
“If you’re pulling over someone and you open the door the side light turns off so that you’re not blinded,” Beohm said.
Once the door is closed the side light goes back on.
The new car is also a little more organized than the crown Victoria. In the front seat of the interceptor, there is a gun rack for a shot and a police AR. In the crown Victoria, troopers would have to put the guns loose in the front passenger seat if they were riding along, or in the trunk of the car.
In the trunk of the new car, there is a pull out drawer that holds the communications for the car. It is stable and slides out when it is needed. In the Crown Vic, the police radios were stacked on top of each other in the trunk.
“In the Crown Vic, part of the radio is behind the spare tire, so if I needed to get to it, I would have to take the tire out first,” Beohm explained.
The Police Interceptor is a much more automatic car than the Crown Victoria is.
“Once you turn the ignition on, the (police) radio turns on and after two hours it turns off,” Beohm said.
If police are pulling someone over, the sirens will automatically turn off when the car is put into park.
There are two cameras in the vehicle which makes for a safer driving experience for the troopers driving.
“Before, you would have to turn the camera around in case someone in the back was being unruly, now we can keep the camera looking forward and still have an eye on the prisoner in the back,” Beohm said.
The sedan and the utility vehicle are both pursuit rated which means that they are both capable of chasing and pulling over suspects at high speeds.
So far, the troopers that have driven it have given it positive reviews.
“In the old cars I would feel cramped and I’m not even six feet, there is no spacing issue,” Beohm said.
Eventually all patrol cars in the Pennsylvania State Police system will be the new Ford Interceptor but no one knows how long that will take.