Let’s be honest, getting pulled over by a law enforcement officer for a moving violation or other violation is a high-anxiety situation. While none of us want to be pulled over you may start seeing 2021 Ford F-150 trucks on the road as law enforcement vehicles. This is thanks to a new offering from Ford as Ford Motor Company unveils the all-new 2021 F-150 Police Responder, America’s only purpose-built, pursuit-rated pickup truck.
The all-new Ford F-150 Police Responder features increased capability, including an improved 120 mph top speed, automatic four-wheel-drive mode with torque-on-demand transfer case to help patrolling officers transition from busy urban streets to dusty country roads.
Watch a video below highlighting this police truck.
Introduced in 2017 as a unique all-terrain law enforcement tool, F-150 Police Responder is built on the all-new 2021 F-150 SuperCrew platform and engineered to meet a wide range of agency needs – from allowing officers to travel with more emergency response gear to transporting mobile command centers, according to Ford. The truck continues to deliver greater towing capacity, payload capacity and interior passenger volume than any other pursuit-rated police vehicle, and for 2021 adds even more capability, according to information provided by Ford.
“Law enforcement agencies told us they would love to add F-150 Police Responder towing, hauling and off-road performance to their fleets, but they need more confidence in speed and handling,” said Greg Ebel, Ford police vehicle brand manager. “Whether suburban police departments, border patrol agents or rural sheriffs, officers never know where the job might take them, but the all-new F-150 Police Responder provides a pickup truck option engineered to get them there faster and with greater agility than ever before.”
Pursuit Performance – On and off-road
The 3.5-liter Ecoboost engine is widely popular and still gets met with skepticism by some old-school truck enthusiasts. Those same people demand V8 engines and think that the there’s no replacement for displacement.
However, the 2021 F-150 Police Responder has the 3.5-liter Ecoboost engine which produces 400 horsepower, and its 500 lb.-ft. of torque. This is tops among all pursuit-rated police vehicles, according to Ford. The engine is paired with a 10-speed SelectShift automatic transmission – both uniquely calibrated to meet rigorous law enforcement use while enabling speeds significantly higher than a stock F-150.
To help reach – and withstand – those high speeds, the vehicle rides on specially developed Goodyear LT265/70R18 LRC BSW Wrangler Enforcer all-terrain tires. As the only all-terrain tires available on a pursuit-rated police vehicle, they’re uniquely designed to handle fast acceleration, high speeds and aggressive cornering on paved roads, and can endure the heat generated in pursuits without sacrificing the off-road capability Police Responder drivers have come to expect.
Because road conditions can vary, the 2021 F-150 Police Responder has a new torque-on-demand transfer case that includes 4-Auto mode with an electrically actuated clutch that automatically adjusts torque as needed to provide exceptional “set it and forget it” capability for seamless terrain transition.
On high-friction surfaces such as dry pavement, the system runs in two-wheel drive for maximum performance and improved handling around corners, avoiding the “crow-hopping” that commonly slows a four-wheel-drive vehicle. If a pursuit shifts to slick or loose surfaces, the 4-Auto system simultaneously directs power to all four wheels, allowing officers to remain focused on the job at hand.
“4-Auto mode bridges the gap between 2-High and 4-High, and you see performance improvements as a result,” said Allen Magolan, Ford police vehicles integration manager. “On dry pavement is where you see the real payoff, because it allows you to carry more speed when cornering – a rare benefit in a pickup truck.”
The torque-on-demand system couples with the standard F-150 FX4 Off-Road Package to give officers outstanding off-road capability. The FX4 package includes underbody skid plates, off-road-tuned shocks, electronic-locking rear axle and Hill Descent Control to help maintain speed while driving down an incline.
For departments that need to tow a boat, horse trailer, mobile command center or other equipment, F-150 Police Responder tops all other pursuit-rated vehicles with a standard towing capacity of 7,000 pounds and available towing capacity of 11,200 pounds, in addition to its payload capacity of 2,030 pounds. An available Trailer Tow Package adds the convenience of Pro Trailer Backup Assist. The available Tow Technology Package adds a 360-degree camera, Trailer Reverse Guidance and integrated Trailer Brake Controller. Smart Trailer Tow Connector is standard on Class IV hitch-equipped vehicles and adds Trailer Coverage to the available Blind Spot Information System.
Police Engine Idle system
Ford says the 2021 F-150 Police Responder is purpose-built with law enforcement in mind. That seems true when it comes a new feature.
Police Engine Idle lets an officer remove the key from the ignition and securely exit the truck with the engine running. Officers can continue to power lights and sirens without worry of vehicle theft. Agencies can choose the type of keys to operate their trucks – up to four traditional fleet keys per truck or up to four available fobs with keyless entry per truck.
How Sync 4 can help save municipalities repair costs
The 2021 F-150 Police Responder comes with Ford’s new Sync 4 system. I’ve sang the praises of this updated system during the time I spent with the hybrid PowerBoost F-150. Sync 4 is outstanding from a personal use but when equipped with Ford Telematics, like the Police Responder is, it can really optimize maintenance and cut costs.
Ford Telematics is an intelligent fleet management tool that can help improve uptime, optimize running costs, enable predictive planning of unscheduled maintenance and improve driver behavior over time. New driver-assist features include a standard Reverse Sensing System, which provides an audible alert if the vehicle approaches an object while backing up. Available Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection that includes Forward Collision Warning and Automatic Emergency Braking now comes with a unique one-touch temporary disable switch exclusively for law enforcement. Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert is available.
Interior features offer versatility and officer comfort
Nobody wants to be inside a police vehicle, but the F-150 Police Responder features some nice interior updates that improve officer comfort and also offer resourcefulness.
Among law enforcement vehicles, F-150 Police Responder stands out – with more interior passenger volume and more head, hip and shoulder room than any other pursuit-rated offering, according to Ford. Front seat bolsters are sized to make it easier for an officer wearing a duty belt to enter or exit the vehicle, while enhancing comfort over the course of an eight-hour shift.
Upfitting is made easy with features such as a front console-delete, universal top tray on the instrument panel and rear power lug. The 40-blank-40 front seat configuration lets agencies install their own department-specific center console. A new factory-installed center console is available as part of the Interior Upgrade Package, as is a new Interior Work Surface that provides an adjustable flat surface for writing or computer work.
The updated darker-colored interior, including police-grade heavy-duty cloth front seats, was influenced by officer input. It features built-in steel intrusion plates in both front seatbacks for officer safety, as well as red-and-white task lighting. LED police warning beacons are available pre-installed in red and blue, amber, or amber and white.
Ford is opening the government order bank tomorrow on this F-150, ahead of spring state and local government bid cycles.
Even if you don’t want to see it up close and personal, what are your thoughts on this F-150 Police Responder? Share your thoughts below.
Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since the high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. He is also co-author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Also, Jimmy works in the social media marketing world for a Canadian automotive training aid manufacturing company. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, Twitter, at his special Ford F-150 coverage on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can read the most of Jimmy's stories by searching Torque News Ford for daily Ford vehicle report.