The Ford F-150 is one of America’s most iconic vehicles, and has been a best-seller for decades. It has also been a favorite among law enforcement and emergency fleets, as it can do a bit of everything. And the 2018 version can do more than that, as Ford claims it is the first pursuit rated pickup truck ever brought to market. Whether or not that is actually the case isn’t clear, but what is clear is that the F-150 is something no criminal wants to see in their rear-view mirror.
Because the F-150 is a ubiquitous vehicle in police fleets everywhere, there are many manufacturers producing upfit products for it. That excellent product availability is a primary reason why fleet managers are happy to integrate it into their departments. There’s more to it, though. The F-150 is designed for both road and off-road use, with a purpose-tuned suspension, skid plates, 4WD and an electronic-locking rear axle. The engine is a fine piece of engineering, with the well-known 3.5L EcoBoost, capable of producing 375 horsepower and 470 pound feet of torque.
The F-150 oozes potential, too, and upfitters can make the most out of that potential. Some of the standard upfit options include:
1. Vehicle Lighting – The F-150 is a patrol and pursuit vehicle, so it must be upfitted appropriately. That includes plenty of lighting from a manufacturer like Whelen. Whelen is a major producer of police and emergency lighting, and manufactures everything from lightbars to flashers and lightheads. Among Whelen’s most popular lighting options is the Liberty II, an LED lightbar with advanced engineering features for minimizing thermal damage. The top of the bar is built with aluminum, which helps direct heat away and keep the Liberty II’s weight down. Each bar is also constructed with, at most, two sealing points, improving its resistance to severe weather, along with hard-coated lenses that shrug off most environmental damage.
The Liberty II also comes with point to point wiring between the lightheads and I/O board, making for extensive reconfiguration. Some varieties of the Liberty II can be programmed with virtually unlimited flash patterns as well, so there is a lot of room to tweak the Liberty II.
2. Truck cargo solutions – The F-150 is, obviously, still a pick-up truck, so it can be placed in a hauling and support role that takes full advantage of its pack mule capabilities. But before a police F-150 can be trusted to haul valuable gear and equipment, it needs some level of security and organization. That is where a manufacturer like Truckvault comes in.
Truckvault has a seemingly endless number of cargo drawer and cabinet options for the F-150, including cargo configurations that maximize security and weather protection. The Extreme series, for example, is ideal for uncovered F-150s, as it is built with a dustproof and waterproof exterior that permits no infiltration. The Extreme series is capable of handling 2,000 pounds of cargo and can be built at Truckvault’s standard or magnum height, which makes sense for scoped rifles. And like all of Truckvault’s cargo products, the Extreme series comes with Strike Guard technology, which combines a heavy duty strike plate and backer plate to minimize tampering.
Another product of note for the F-150 is the Surveyor, which is intended for covered trucks. With the Surveyor, the F-150’s storage capacity is multiplied, with full-length drawers and open-faced shelves. It’s a popular choice for fire departments, as it can be used to haul heavy, dirty equipment.
3. A versatile push bumper – A “versatile” push bumper? Most push bumpers are just there to muscle around other vehicles and keep the front of the F-150 in good shape. That is, of course, the primary function of a push bumper, but some push bumpers, like Lund Industries’ PASS Bumper System, can offer more than just protection.
In addition to shielding the front of the F-150, Lund’s PASS Bumper System enhances the onboard speakers, helping them deliver more decibels at range. The PASS Bumper System accomplishes this with a unique design, in that it is built with speaker mounts near the front of the bumper. Normally, siren speakers have to be installed behind the vehicle grille, which blunts their effect to an extent. The PASS Bumper, though, with its speaker mounts, along with a longer speaker housing built specifically for the bumper, cranks the outputted decibels by 15 or more. That greatly enhances the siren’s sound at a distance, giving other motorists more time to get out of the way or notice the officer behind them attempting to signal them off the road.
4. Heavy duty computer mount – As a patrol and pursuit vehicle, officers inside the F-150 need to have plenty of information at their beck and call. That means a laptop inside the vehicle, and that necessitates a rugged computer mount to hold it.
A reputable manufacturer in this space is Gamber Johnson, which has a pedestal mount option just for the F-150. It is built with heavy gauge steel for extended durability and a black powder coat finish for added protection from corrosion. It can be installed in minutes and pushed out of the way to allow the passenger plenty of leg room. Gamber Johnson’s pedestal mounts can also be fitted with universal mounting steps, so they can accommodate most laptop models.
The F-150 is one of the most versatile and intimidating police vehicles on the road, or off it, but it can be turned into a truly fearsome bully with the right upfits.