Trucks & SUVs

It’s Not Just Explorers: Police Used Jeep Cherokees Too

Back in the 60s, police cars weren’t terribly different from civilian ones. Today, though, the cops have access to specially-prepped trucks and SUVs. The F-150, Silverado, Explorer, and even (in the UK) Ranger Raptor have all been pressed and modified for police service. But, at times, ordinary citizens have been able to pick up ‘police special’ cars. And at one point, you could actually buy a police-spec Jeep Cherokee.

The police-spec Jeep XJ Cherokee

As of this writing, Bring a Trailer is offering a 1997 Jeep Cherokee Police Group 4×4 for $4,000.

The XJ Cherokee is still a well-regard off-roader, which may have spurred its adoption into police and government service. In fact, Allpar reports some departments were paying for Cherokees out-of-pocket, the SUV was in such high demand. At first, the police Jeeps were unofficially-modified fleet vehicles. But, as orders kept climbing, it became its own official model.

1997 Jeep Cherokee Police Group 4x4 rear
1997 Jeep Cherokee Police Group 4×4 rear | Bring a Trailer

Like the civilian models, the Police Group Jeep Cherokee had 4-speed automatics and 2-speed transfer cases. It also had the stock 190-hp 4.0-liter six-cylinder. But it did get a heavy-duty cooling system and an auxiliary transmission oil cooler. The Police Group package also added Dana 44 axles and heavy-duty suspension. In addition, the rear drum brakes were upsized from 9” to 10”. Finally, the police Jeep got additional radio equipment, lights, and siren.

Although Jeep still provides right-hand-drive Wranglers for mail carriers, at the moment, there are no official police Jeeps. At least, not in the US.

The Italian police’s Jeep Grand Cherokees and Wranglers

At the beginning of 2019, the anti-terrorist unit of the Carabinieri, Italy’s police force, took delivery of 19 Jeep Grand Cherokees.

The 4WD SUVs came equipped with the Euro-market 190-hp 3.6-liter diesel V6 and 8-speed automatic. The US Grand Cherokee also gets that engine, albeit with 240 hp. But the Italian police’s Jeeps make up for that with armored windshields, side windows, tires, and body panels. To cope with the added weight, and to improve on-road handling, Jeep also reinforced the Grand Cherokees’ suspension. An onboard connection to Italy’s Odino police database and a 7” Android tablet completes the modifications. The Grand Cherokees aren’t the Carabinieri’s only Jeeps, though.

The Drive and Motor1 report that in 2018, the Italian police also took delivery of a special Jeep Wrangler for beach patrol. But this wasn’t some attempt at Baywatch cosplay. The Wrangler received a 2” Fox Performance lift kit, front steering stabilizer, 32” all-terrain tires, as well as extended mudguards and splash guards. The Carabinieri added its own mods, including lights, siren, portable radio, and a machine gun holder.

Other FCA police vehicles

Although there are no US police Jeeps at the moment, that doesn’t mean FCA doesn’t provide police vehicles.

2017 Dodge Charger Pursuit
2017 Dodge Charger Pursuit | FCA

For one, there’s the Dodge Charger Pursuit, which is rapidly becoming, if it isn’t already, the new Crown Vic. Although it can’t get the Hellcat, the Charger Pursuit can pair the 5.7-liter V8 with all-wheel drive, something the civilian Charger can’t do. And, in addition to police-spec disc brakes, the Charger Pursuit can also be equipped with ballistic door panels.

2020 Dodge Durango Pursuit
2020 Dodge Durango Pursuit | FCA

There are also 2 versions of the Dodge Durango, the Pursuit and the Special Service. Details on the latter are sparse, but the Pursuit gets a new fascia with brake-cooling ducts and upgraded load-leveling suspension. And finally, there’s also a Ram 1500 Special Service.

That being said, considering Ford offers an off-road-ready pickup, perhaps Jeep should consider making a police Gladiator.

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