When it comes to vehicle customization, the Collierville Police patrol cars would be considered first-rate for any car enthusiast – unless, perhaps, you’re sitting in the backseat. However, even the backseat is custom with safety and function in mind.
“When we first receive the vehicles, they’re just a shell. They only come with the spotlight,” said Captain Sean Williams, Commander of the Patrol Division of the Collierville Police Department. “We have essentially two vendors who add everything from the camera system to the lights and decals.”
Officially called a “Ford Pursuit Interceptor SUV,” the Collierville Police Department purchases the plain, white patrol cars from Ford of Murfreesboro, who holds the state contract for Ford police vehicles.
At the Aug. 14 Mayor of Board and Aldermen meeting, the town approved the purchase of seven of the Pursuit SUVs at $203,766.50 (the contract price for one SUV is $29,109) and one administrative vehicle at $24,155. The vehicles were part of the 2019 budget to replace cars that needed to be taken out of service. Ken Mauney, the town’s Fleet Maintenance manager, works closely with the Patrol Division and recommended that the vehicles be replaced based on age, mileage, serviceability, intended use, and repair cost records attributed to the cars.
“Our patrol cars are driven anywhere from sixteen to twenty-four hours a day, and often assigned to two different officers,” said Williams. “We need reliable vehicles and enough space for our officers and their equipment.”
The SUVs are larger than the sedan model of the Ford police vehicle, which works well with all the features outfitted in a police patrol vehicle. In the front seat there is a Mobile Data Terminal (computer), radio system, and printer for citations. The front seat is divided from the back seats with a prisoner partition and the bars are added on the back windows. The trunk space is outfitted with a storage compartment, much like a toolbox.
On the outside of the SUVs, there are familiar customized features including the stickers and blue lights, and less noticeable additions like the five different antennas on the roof.
“We have antennas for a wireless camera, computer, GPS, dispatch radio, and another radio system that transmits video,” said Officer Justin Lewis.
Lewis works in the Patrol Division with Williams to coordinate the customization of the vehicles and to be a liaison between the Fleet Maintenance and Patrol.
“Officer Lewis has a knack for the new technology, and as a part of the Patrol Division, knows what the cars need,” said Captain Williams.
The technological customization of the patrol vehicles is impressive. The camera system inside the SUVs automatically record if the vehicle reaches a certain speed or if the driver turns on the blue lights; when the vehicle returns to the Collierville Police Department Headquarters parking lot, the recorded video footage is wirelessly transferred to a server.
“Even the microphone is automatic,” said Lewis, holding up a clip-on device that closely resembles a pager. “In years past, we had to manually switch on our microphone, which can easily be forgotten in the heat of the moment.”
The GPS technology also helps in high-stress situations, with turn-by-turn directions once an officer is dispatched to respond to a call. The computer system goes beyond mapping technology and allows the officers to view call details and upload electronic reports; they even has access to research materials such as the Memphis/Shelby County Warrant Database or Vehicle Registration.
While the police vehicle customization is extensive, the design keeps Collierville Police Officers out on the street and their patrol SUVs out of the shop.
“Our officers have everything they need to effectively be on patrol,” said Williams.