The Dodge Ram family of trucks is the centerpiece pickup of the Chrysler family, and it is also a valuable member of its family of police vehicles. The Ram may not have the kind of ubiquitous presence that some other trucks do, but the Ram is plenty capable in its own right and can be configured into a mean machine. Dodge does offer an SSV version of the Ram, which comes with an improved powertrain and alternator, heavy duty engine cooling, steel wheels and a specialized instrument panel. It’s the improved powertrain that clearly deserves the most attention, as it gives the Ram much more muscle in payload handling. And in most public safety fleets, the Ram is going to be moving a lot of equipment. That’s why extensive configuration is a must, to bring out the best version of the Ram.
The Ram is available in 1500, 2500 and 3500 versions, though the 1500 and 2500 will be sufficient for most public safety fleets. The enhanced powertrain in the Ram SSV runs up the vehicle’s payload and towing capacities, and the 1500 is able to carry more than 1,500 pounds of payload. The SSV model is an ideal support vehicle, then, but it also works well in a patrol role. Though it isn’t pursuit rated, the Ram is built with advanced stabilization and a column shifter to enable more aggressive driving.
Whether in a patrol or support role, the Ram is an ideal candidate for several avenues of configuration, some of them including:
1. Cargo solutions – One of the limitations in a patrol pickup model is protecting carried equipment from the elements. There isn’t room enough to store it inside, and it can’t just be tossed on the bed. Bed covers are one way around this and work well enough. Another approach is to install weatherproof cargo drawers.
Enter Truckvault’s Extreme Series of all-weather cargo drawers. Truckvault builds modular cargo solutions for a variety of police, fire and EMS vehicles, and the Ram is a natural fit for one. Truckvault’s drawers can be built to accommodate most firearms, including scoped rifles. They can be configured with a variety of locks, like a combination or slam latch lock, along with drawer divider options and color options. More interesting, they can be armored with steel, fitted with tie down rails or a bumperchute for those mobile command applications. Security is a focus here, too, as Truckvault drawers come with its Strike Guard technology, which makes it much harder to tamper with the drawers.
Most relevant, though, is that the Extreme series is sealed off against water, dust and dirt. It manages that with a combination of heat-resistant spray-on armor and bulb sealed and compression locked drawers. Nothing is getting inside.
2. The PASS bumper – There are plenty of push bumpers that will work with the Ram, but perhaps the most functional version is the PASS (Police Audio Visual Safety System) bumper, developed by Lund Industries.
The PASS bumper provides the expected push bumper functionality, in that it protects the front of the Ram from impact and allows officers to shove other vehicles out of the way. It goes a step further, though, in that it is built with speaker mounts (specialized speakers just for the PASS) that enhance the volume of the Ram’s sirens. It is a noticeable difference, too, measuring up to 20 decibels louder from some angles. That means motorists will notice the Ram’s siren sooner and react faster. That’s critical for a patrol vehicle.
3. A space-efficient gun rack – Patrol officers need their firearms on hand and available at all times, and that can be tricky inside of a pickup. Fortunately, there are several rack manufacturers that design products with the Ram in mind.
One of those manufacturers is Big Sky Racks, which adds several smart design tweaks to their racks to make it a better product. For example, the company’s ELS rack can be mounted to the ceiling for maximum concealment from outside the vehicle. From this position, the firearm can be disengaged from the rack without needing to look at it. In other words, the officer maintains maximum field of vision and response awareness, improving safety. The ELS racks are also built with solid steel construction, high security trigger guards, electronically-released locks with timer delay (up to 10 seconds), padded brackets and adjustable components to accommodate a range of firearms. And if the rack ever needs to be moved to another vehicle, it is built to make that transfer easy.
4. Laptop mount – Patrol officers need more than their firearm at the ready, they need information at the ready too. Laptop mounts make it easy to keep this information on hand, and manufacturers of police vehicle laptop mounts design them to be both rugged and functional.
A popular laptop mount manufacturer is Troy Products, which has a mount design just for the Ram. It is shipped fully assembled and comes with a 9-inch slide arm that extends another eight inches. It allows for one hand maneuvering, and though it can be accessed by someone standing just outside the passenger side window, if need be, it doesn’t impede on passenger space, so two officers can still be seated comfortably.
The Ram family of trucks is a reliable one, with excellent cost effectiveness and payload capacity. And with several upfits available, it can take on a patrol role just as well as any sedan.