The Ford Expedition is an SUV with a special place in police and emergency fleets. The SSV version is nimble enough to serve well in a patrol role, without sacrificing the kind of power and cargo capacity that police fleets need from their SUVs. This makes the Expedition a strong primary vehicle for a rural department, where tougher road and weather conditions often prevail. And with its combination of utility and agility, it can be configured in plenty of ways and retain its top flight effectiveness. An upfitter’s dream, in other words.
The Expedition has it all. It can be built with Ford’s 3.5L EcoBoost engine (V6 or V8), which is capable of 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. It’s designed with an aluminum-alloy body, which keeps it light, quick and tough. And it doesn’t give anything away on the cargo side, as the Expedition EL comes with 130 cubic feet of space behind the first row. The Expedition SSV gets all of the expected police vehicle features too, with heavy duty disc brakes, steel wheels, a rear view camera, and plenty of other safety and security additions.
But it takes upfitting to unlock the Expedition’s full potential. And here, there are plenty of approaches. The Expedition is a highly versatile machine, so it can be transformed into a general purpose patrol vehicle, a CID or chief vehicle, an equipment-hauling support vehicle (for police or fire departments) or a K-9 transport vehicle, depending on the department’s needs. Getting there, though, will take some smart upfits, with some of them including:
1. Push bumpers – Rural patrol and emergency vehicles have to be ready for the occasional rough ride, especially when a situation demands some off-roading. Also, when other vehicles pose an obstacle to the Expedition, those vehicles have to get out of the way. What gets those obstacles out of the way, and what protects the Expedition from impact damage is a sturdy push bumper. For a vehicle expected to handle rough conditions, it makes sense to go with more than just the center section too, as lower and wing sections provide valuable protection to the headlights.
Several manufacturers produce push bumpers for large SUVs like the Expedition, and one of the more respected names in the industry is GO Industries. In addition to push bumpers, GO Industries also builds gun racks, window guards, skid plates and more, but its push bumpers are worth further mention. Each one is built with 2-inch, 14-gauge steel cross tubes, with 1/4-inch uprights and an 11-gauge shelf plate. That’s enough toughness to get most obstacles out of the way without damage to the Expedition.
2. Security drawers – Expeditions used for patrol will, obviously, have firearms in the vehicle, but even if it is solely used as an emergency or support vehicle, there will be valuable equipment to protect. Protecting those firearms or equipment is best done with a durable security drawer.
Some of the best security drawers in the world are built by Tufloc, and they are built in an array of sizes, including a few that fit in the Expedition. Dubbed the TufBox, they live up to their name, with steel construction and framework, along with a baked powder coat finish. Plenty of accessories are available too, including several handle and lock options (like a combination or improved T-handle, both with locks), foam inserts for firearms, dividers for better organization, a raised lip to hold items on top of the TufBox, and a rubber mat for additional exterior protection.
3. Power management technology – Expeditions upfitted for patrol will be roving platforms fitted with extensive electronics. And with that kind of power load, it’s enough to take out the battery in a hurry once the ignition is switched off.
With power management technology, and specifically a delay timer, any concerns about overextending the battery can be put to rest. AC/DC Electronics is a major producer of delay timers, and dedicates all of its manufacturing resources to just producing timers. Each one can be configured to activate after a set amount of time has passed (from 15 minutes to 8 hours) after ignition is switched off, or after the battery’s voltage output drops to a set output level. Once triggered, AC/DC’s timers will switch off most devices when the given time or voltage level is reached. This ensures critical equipment like communications remain up while also protecting the battery from failure. Fortunately, AC/DC’s timers are easy to install and easy to use, so they can be integrated into an Expedition with little effort.
4. Safety lighting – Patrol Expeditions are popular in rural areas, and they are often responding to situations or emergencies in difficult circumstances, such as at night, off-road and often without immediate backup. Safety lighting is a must, especially when responding to a call at night.
Safety lighting is ideal for warning and signaling motorists, as well as providing additional illumination for the officer to see by. Bayco is a first choice in safety and scene lighting for police, fire and emergency personnel, as they come in a spectrum of colors and emission patterns, including flashlight, radiant and flashing modes. Bayco also manufactures rugged and tactical flashlights, as well as headlamps and gun lights, so there are several layers of lighting here that public safety fleets can benefit from.
The Expedition is whatever a fleet manager needs it to be. Whether patrol, CID, chief’s vehicle, K-9 transport or just placed in a support role, there is an upfit option that can help the Expedition fit that role.