Police departments are not immune to the utility-vehicle wave that has engulfed retail auto sales, and for the same reasons.
The trend is evident in both Canadian and U.S. police services, where tall wagons such as the Chevrolet Tahoe and Ford Explorer with pursuit-rated police packages nearly equal, and in some cases exceed, their sedan counterparts like the Dodge Charger and Ford Taurus.
Sedans likely will remain the vehicle of choice for patrolling built-up urban areas, but for suburbs and rural areas, SUVs are becoming the norm.
“We’re all dealing with the same issue, and that is the vehicles are getting smaller, yet there’s still demand for more gadgets and equipment put into those cars,” Julie Furlotte, the RCMP’s national mobile assets manager, said in an interview. “It’s always a bit of a tradeoff and a challenge to make it all fit.”
The RCMP operates the biggest law enforcement fleet in North America, Furlotte said. It buys between 1,800 and 2,000 vehicles a year; its current fleet has 1,200-1,300 police-package sedans and 1,600 utility vehicles. Officers, like civilian drivers, like the bigger vehicles’ higher-up seating position and ease of entry and exit.