What Do Police Pursuit Trucks Have That We Can’t Get?

The new 2023 Chevy Silverado Police Pursuit Vehicle joins trucks from each of the big three that do double duty as consumer sales leaders and high-speed police vehicles. Each of these three trucks from Ford, Chevy and Ram is based on their best-selling work trucks and designed to help first responders meet their unique needs, which means running dozens of electrical gadgets, from lights and sirens to radios and computers, to chasing down bad guys.

The interior of the Ford F-150 Police Responder shows some of the gadgets we can't get.
Ford F-150 Police Responder interior | Ford

The police trucks from Ford, Chevy, and Ram are all four-door, four-wheel-drive, trucks that don’t look too different from the trucks you and I can buy. But they are.

Each of these trucks also come with suspension upgrades, special tires, and unique upgrades designed for police duty. They are also designed for “upfitters,” or third-party companies that add the police-specific goodies to the trucks, like push bars, lights, and prisoner partitions. Each has specific guides to help upfitters find a plethora of electrical connectors that are special to these trucks’ high-output alternators.

Dodge and Ford, however, offer “anti ambush” features, which automatically turn on outside cameras, lock the doors, and roll up the windows if a vehicle senses a person walking up.

The Chevy and Ford trucks are also “pursuit rated.” According to the Policing Institute, a “pursuit rated” vehicle is: “A vehicle that is designed by the manufacturer to be used in a police pursuit. Pursuit rated, or police package vehicles, come with heavier frames, suspension, steering, braking system and speed rated tires, and are designed to be used in a high speed pursuit situation.”

What do these special trucks offer that we can’t get in our “regular” pickups?

The Ram Special Service: it’s got a Hemi

The Ram Special Service is the brand's first-responder truck.
Ram 1500 Classic Special Service

The 2022 Ram 1500 Classic Special Service comes with Ram’s popular 395-hp Hemi V8. It can be ordered with a higher axle ratio, 3.92:1, which means it can have a little bit more grunt off the line than the standard four-wheel-drive Classic, which has a 3.55:1.

At its core, though, the SS is a Ram Classic, which means it’s based on the least-expensive version of Ram’s 1500 full-size truck. It has about the same payload and towing capacity as the Classic. It has the same power cloth front seats you can order, but it has a folding vinyl rear bench seat you can’t. The 220-amp alternator is an option.

Ram’s corporate cousins in law enforcement include the Durango Pursuit SUV, the Charger Pursuit sedan, and the Durango Special Service.  

Ford F-150 Police Responder: the quickest police truck

The Ford F-150 Police Responder is the quickest police truck, Ford says.
Ford F-150 Police Responder | Ford

The F-150 Police Responder was the first “pursuit-rated pickup” available in 2021. Ford says it is the quickest, and its top speed is 120 mph with the 3.5-liter 400-hpEcoBoost V6. Ford says it’s also the fastest-accelerating police vehicle. In Michigan State Police tests, the 2021 F-150 Police Responder hit 60 mph in 5.4 seconds, and the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department reported a 14.4-second quarter-mile for the truck. Those figures are about the same as a 1999 Ford Mustang Mach 1.

The Responder also features special Goodyear tires that handle both speed and off-road duties. For off-roading, the Responder has an automatic four-wheel-drive mode that is optional on some F-150 trucks.

The truck can be left alone idling, too, but it can’t be driven unless the key is present.  

The F-150 Responder is, in many respects, an XL-spec truck that starts at about $30,000.

The 2023 Silverado PPV: Chevy’s first pursuit-rated truck

2023 Chevy Silverado Police Pursuit Vehicle | Chevrolet

The new 2023 Silverado Police Pursuit Vehicle is Chevy’s first pursuit-rated truck, and it comes with the 355-hp 5.3-liter V8. Chevy says that it took what it learned from building its Tahoe PPV and added that to the Silverado. The new truck is one of the first you can see with the new 2023 grille and headlights for Chevy.

Silverados, however, have been ranked as some of the least reliable trucks by Consumer Reports.

The Silverado PPV has the beefy Rancho shocks from the Z71 package, and steel 20-inch wheels. Like the other trucks, it has auxiliary wiring, which includes several switches for upfitters to add lights and sirens.

The truck is also offered with the Multiflex tailgate and a tri-fold tonneau cover over the 5.8-foot bed.

Trucks are now some of the most popular vehicles on the road, they might soon be in your local police department parking lot, too.

Related: To Protect and Swerve: The World’s 10 Fastest Police Cars