The Dodge Durango is a real work-horse for police fleets, capable of carrying a lot, towing a lot and doing both in less than ideal conditions. The Durango is Dodge’s police SUV, and though it isn’t pursuit rated, it is an excellent asset in rural areas and regions where harsh weather is common. As such, when it comes to configuring the Durango, fleet managers often focus on the kind of upfits that would serve rural police well. That means putting together a vehicle that is self-reliant and capable of responding to a situation in any setting.
The only time the Durango would find itself in a patrol role is in a rugged, remote community. In the city? Not so much, though even in urban areas, the payload capabilities of the Durango can help in a big way. Dodge’s Special Service package comes with upgrades aplenty, including an 800-amp battery, heavy duty disc brakes with ferritic nitrocarburizing (that means they wear down slowly), a more robust oil cooler and water pump, and automatic tri-zone temperature control for K9s. The Durango SSV can be optionally upgraded to the 5.7L HEMI V8 engine, which is probably a good idea if the vehicle is relied on for cargo hauling or towing.
There is plenty of room for upfitting, though, and the upfitting process allows fleet managers to add that extra bit of functionality that may be essential for where they are stationed. Some examples of what to look for in a proper upfit include:
1. Push bumpers – The Durango SSV is likely going to have minimal interaction with other vehicles. This isn’t a pursuit platform. However, when conditions force the Durango into rough areas, then that extra front protection will be worth having. A sturdy push bumper can keep the vehicle intact in the event of a collision, and give the Durango some push power if they need to move a stuck vehicle in a hurry, or if the Durango needs to squeeze through a tight spot.
Push bumpers are fairly standard pieces of equipment, so there are several manufacturers that build them for the Durango SSV. Go Rhino and Setina are two of those manufacturers, and they both make excellent push bumpers. Setina’s push bumpers, for example, are built from aircraft-grade aluminum, which keeps weight down and strength up, and come with several mounting locations for lighting. It’s a tough piece of metal that improves the Durango’s presence and visibility.
2. Scene lighting – In remote areas, the first officer to respond has to face more than just other, potentially antagonistic, people. They also have to deal with nature, especially when it’s night time. If responding to an emergency like a car accident, there is no time to wait, so the officer must be ready to act even in imperfect conditions. Scene lighting can help an officer establish enough visibility to get the situation assessed and in order.
There are plenty of lighting manufacturers serving law enforcement and public safety, but only a few of them produce scene and portable lighting. One of those manufacturers is Streamlight, which might have the most expansive collection of portable and scene lights anywhere. Its LED scene light sets up quickly and spits out an incredible 5,300 lumens’ worth of illumination. It is also IP67 rated, so it is completely shielded from dust and can withstand water up to 1 meter, and for 30 minutes.
Streamlight’s products are also ideal for firefighting personnel, especially the portable Vulcan series of handheld lanterns. The Vulcan 180, for instance, puts out 1,200 lumens in a lightweight package, and is built on a flat base so it can be put down without it rolling away.
3. K-9 transport and deployment systems – The Durango SSV is often relied on as a K-9 deployment platform, especially in rural and remote areas, where a canine partner can make a major difference. Advanced K-9 transport systems offer enhanced safety, comfort and ease of deployment. Special deployment systems allow the officer to open the K-9 unit’s crate door remotely, which can help an officer turn the tide when a situation suddenly worsens.
Ray Allen Manufacturing is the leader in K-9 transport and deployment technologies, and produces just about everything an officer would need to keep their K-9 partner safe and always at the ready.
Ray Allen’s K-9 transport crates are the best in the business, built with high strength and low weight aluminum. They are designed with a Marine grade slam latch that automatically engages and larger vent holes for additional air flow and comfort. Those larger vent holes also reduce canine stress as they allow for better visibility. It features welded, rivet construction and 3/8 inch round bars for increased stability. It is built to keep the K-9 safe and comfortable.
Ray Allen’s temperature monitoring and remote deployment systems add another layer of safety for both canine and officer. The F3 system comes with both, which means the officer can monitor the interior temperature, receive an alert when temps reach a preconfigured level, and switch on a high-speed fan remotely (this can also be done automatically). The deployment system features a one button door release, so if the officer is facing an escalating situation, they can quickly even the odds. Ray Allen’s remote deployment system deactivates while the vehicle is in motion and features a recessed deployment button, so there are no accidental triggers.
The Dodge Durango SSV is built for heavy duty work, and its upfitting configuration should reflect that. With carefully considered upfitting, the Durango will have an answer for every situation.