|Reporter tries out Tipp police SUV|
|Written by Editor|
|Friday, 06 July 2012 16:18|
By MIKE ULLERY
TIPP CITY — I was offered the opportunity last week to get behind the wheel of Tipp City’s newest addition to its fleet. I visited Sgt. Marc Basye at the department’s test track at Kyle Park to watch and experience the Ford Interceptor SUV police pursuit vehicle in action.
We first ran an agility course. With Basye behind the wheel, we negotiated the tight course, where aggressive course correction, rapid acceleration and hard braking are integral parts. The SUV handled better than any vehicle I have ever driven, including any other law enforcement vehicle.
I had informed Basye that I would be a “tough sell” as the last police cruiser I spent a lot of time in was a late-70s model Plymouth Gran Fury, packing a 440 cubic-inch engine and a top speed in excess of 150 mph.
My experience with SUVs told me that they were all top heavy and were probably the worst-cornering vehicles, short of a farm tractor, ever produced.
The new Ford SUV quickly made a believer out of me. The cornering and braking were far superior to any vehicle on the road. The most amazing thing was the virtually rock-solid stability in every maneuver.
This translates to a safer vehicle for officers to drive and a safer environment for civilians who find themselves in the area of law enforcement vehicle on an emergency run or chase.
After completing the agility course in the SUV, we strapped ourselves into the venerable Ford Crown Victoria, a legendary police vehicle that is no longer in production. Basye took us through the course in the “Crown Vic.” It took about five seconds to understand … and feel, the difference.
While Basye was always in control of our ride, the Crown Vic was not as stable and more “squirrelly” in the turns.
My turn behind the wheel took us to the high speed area of the course. Basye had me “floor it.” We were at 60 mph very quickly and coming into a flat left curve. I was instructed to brake hard, then to floor it again. I was momentarily taken aback as my previous training was to decelerate in the turn and give it the gas coming out. I followed instructions and was, again, amazed. The SUV hugged the turn, literally no sway or feeling of loss of control. (The credit goes to the Stabili-Track System, not my driving ability.)
I came away a convert. I am confident it is the perfect tool to keep our police officers as safe as possible in their already dangerous world. This new generation of police pursuit Ford SUV is just the ticket for law enforcement.
Mike Ullery is a former member of the Miami County Sheriff’s Office.