Since the 1990s, the nation’s law enforcement fleets have been dominated by Ford’s Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, affectionately known to officers as the “Crown Vic.” But as beloved as the reliable workhorse has become, it will soon be a thing of the past.
Crown Vic was a trusted steed
Earlier this year, in a move being repeated in many states, the Washington State Patrol held a ceremony as the last Crown Victoria Police Interceptor in its fleet was pressed into service.
Washington State Patrol Assistant Chief James Lever said in a press release:
“We understand the affection that an old time sheriff might have had for their horse. We’ve been through a lot with these cars, and they’ve never failed us.”
Crown Vic no longer being made
The car was assigned to a patrol officer in the city of Spokane. Ford is no longer making the model, so when that car is retired, there will be no more.
“Just as we face the prospect of a number of troopers retiring in the near future, we have a lot of Crown Vics that are also ready for retirement. That means our fleet section will be outfitting new cars at a rate we’ve not seen before.”
The service life of a law enforcement patrol car is only between four and five years.
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Replacing the Crown Vic
Ford has produced the Crown Victoria Police Interceptor since 1992. It stopped taking orders for the model in April, 2012. In June, the last one ever to be made rolled off the assembly line at Ford’s St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada facility. Ford will be replacing the Crown Victoria Police Interceptor with the Police Interceptor sedan, based on the Taurus, and the Police Interceptor Utility SUV, based on the Explorer.
But devoted officers say that is hardly “auto equity.”
An office on wheels
It is not hard to understand why the Crown Victoria Police Interceptor has been so popular with law enforcement agents. It packs a powerful V8 engine, has rear-wheel drive and a beefed-up suspension. That makes it ready for anything at a moment’s notice.
Lt. Terry Liebrecht, a state trooper in Yakima County, Washington, said:
“It’s a very versatile car. It’s big but not too big, responsive, and it’s roomy enough to carry all the equipment troopers need to do their job. Troopers work out of their cars 8-10 hours a day, so it really matters to them. That’s their office space.”
Jim Keightley, a former Patrol lieutenant, said:
“The Crown Vic’s been a workhorse. This generation of troopers, that’s all they know.”
The last workhorse
Last week, Ford sold its final Crown Victoria Police Interceptor to the Kansas State Patrol. It is being delivered to Troop J in Salina. But, like a trusted steed being put out to pasture, the last of a proud line will be put on permanent display in a museum. Ironically, it will remain at the ready, commemorating the years of service that it will never see.