Take Ford Out of Their Future
By Patrick F. Cannon
In what must be one of the most unselfish acts I’ve heard about in many a day, a number of Chicago employees of the Ford Motor Company have petitioned the company to discontinue production of the Ford Police Interceptor, which would also presumably discontinue the jobs of the workers who produce them.
Ford has long been involved in producing vehicles for the police. The latest version is based on one of their SUV models, and is produced at Ford’s Chicago plant. It was the first Ford assembly plant built outside Detroit, and is now the oldest in continuous operation. When it opened, it churned out Model T’s. No doubt some of them were used by the police of the day.
Although General Motors also makes police vehicles, Ford does dominate the market. So, one would hope that GM would follow Ford’s lead and stop making these symbols of police oppression. While the cops would be able to get by with existing fleets for some time (maybe a long time; look at Cuba), eventually they would have to choose other ways to get around town. Here are some possibilities.
What’s wrong with walking? In addition to just plain good exercise, it would place our men and women in blue close to the action. I have visions of Office Friendly strolling down the avenue, saying howdy to one and all, poking his or her nose into the barber shop, shooting the breeze with passersby, helping the odd senior citizen across the street; all the while keeping an eye out for possible transgressors, and writing the odd parking ticket. This would be the legendary “beat” officer of yore. Since police in Chicago have to live in the city, let them take the CTA to work. As an added benefit, we might require our officers to wear only American-made shoes, preferably those with gum soles. And why not have them pick up discarded trash as they go along, thus beautifying the neighborhood?
By the way, I’ve noticed on many a TV cop show that our police seem capable of feats of running that would do justice to Usain Bolt. If a few of our cops seem a bit on the pudgy side, would not a bit of running do them good?
Perhaps you’ve noticed that bicycles are becoming common in police forces around the country. A bike permits the office to cover more ground. It also permits the possibility of carrying more equipment, like submachine guns, stun grenades, pepper spray, tear gas and candy for the kiddies. They are also better for pursuit, but leaping off to tackle an offender can be troublesome.
Many police departments, Chicago included, already have mounted units. Who doesn’t like these beautiful horses? Normally, we only see one at a time, usually with a smiling officer offering to let adoring children stroke the willing steed’s muzzle. But picture a hundred mounted police, sabers at the ready, and you have a crowd control tactic second to none! What Ford can compare?
While I would be loathe to recommend any vehicle with an internal combustion engine, electric conveyances should be just the ticket. I believe the Chicago police already have the Segway transporter in use, but electric scooters and even skateboards can be had. While some of our finest might be a bit too heavy for them, they certainly can be an option for the few who are thin and fit.
Dangerous high-speed chases would eventually be a thing of the past. When bank robbers, for example, jump into a get-away car and flee, a nearby police officer might be able to note the license plate number. If the vehicle wasn’t stolen for the purpose, the offenders could be eventually tracked down and arrested, or perhaps sent a letter asking them to give themselves up.
While response to emergency 911 calls might be a bit slower, the environment would surely benefit from the lack of emissions from hundreds of idling Fords. Finally, to replace those police helicopters one sees hovering overhead, why not hot air balloons? With a 50-member City Council, Chicago would not lack for the necessary fuel.
Copyright 2020, Patrick F. Cannon