August 2, 2021
A patrol vehicle is an officer's lifeline. It is trusted to perform and protect those traveling inside and sharing the road.
Each fall, the Vehicle Test Team of the Michigan State Police (MSP) Precision Driving Unit puts police model motorcycles, sedans and SUVs from different manufacturers through a variety of road tests to then compile comparable data on performance, acceleration, braking and vehicle dynamics. Off-course, vehicles are analyzed for ergonomics, radio frequency interference and ease of outfit, as well as fuel economy.
The MSP's report is published nationwide, internationally, and online, allowing agency fleet managers and purchasing agents to use the information as part of their procurement process.
The 2022 Police Model Vehicle Evaluation will be held Sept. 16-20 at the Chelsea Proving Grounds and Grattan Raceway. Fourteen motorcycles and vehicles will be assessed.
"The testing equipment has changed so much," said Lt. Michael McCarthy, commander of the Precision Driving Unit. "When I started with the Vehicle Test Team in 2006, we had just switched to a digital measuring system. Now we use a GPS-based program that charts speed, distance and g-forces."
The MSP and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department are the only two agencies in the country who test and publish reports containing these stripped-down findings.
"We're considered experts and that's something we're very proud of," said McCarthy. "Our law enforcement partners trust that we're scrutinizing every aspect of these vehicles from the way different bodies fit in the seats to how well the stability control works."
Adding electric vehicles to the lineup is being discussed, McCarthy says. "Hard acceleration quickly depletes the battery's charge reducing the vehicle's range, and that can be a concern in the police industry."
The MSP has been publishing the Police Model Vehicle Evaluation since 1974.