Why are police departments still using the Crown Victoria?

As the Hollywood Police Department and local media [__probe__](http://www.miamiherald.com/news/broward/story/786342.html) to find out what caused a Hollywood squad car to engulf in flames, killing an officer Saturday night, it’s surprising that more emphasis has not been placed on the make of the squad car Alex Del Rio was driving that night; the Crown Victoria.

In fact, the first question that popped in my mind after I heard the news was whether or not the officer was driving a Crown Victoria, one of the most widely used models for squad cars in police departments throughout the country.

And one of the most dangerous cars ever introduced in this country, prone to fires and explosions after rear-end collisions.

When I was a police reporter in Phoenix for *The Arizona Republic,* one of the biggest stories we ever worked on was the story of [__Jason Schechterle__](http://www.azstarnet.com/clips/trialbyfire/day3.html)[__,__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/images%3Fq%3Djason%2Bschechterle%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Doff%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26hs%3DQhK%26sa%3DX) pictured right, a Phoenix police officer who survived one such explosion but suffered fourth-degree burns in the process in 2001, forever altering his appearance and life.

A year later, it was another Phoenix-area police officer involved in a Crown Victoria fire after his squad car was struck from behind. But this time, the incident killed [__Chandler Police Officer Robert Nielson.__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/16302-officer-robert-joseph-nielsen)

And in 1998, it was Arizona State Trooper Juan Cruz who was killed after his Crown Victoria ended up engulfed in flames.

At least 21 officers throughout the country have been killed in such incidents since the Ford Motor Company introduced the Crown Victoria in 1978, according to this [__timeline,__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/timeline.html) including two South Florida officers in 1997.

The [__problem__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/designproblem.html) lies in the design of the vehicle. Unlike most cars, the gas tank is not protected by the rear axle, so in a high impact rear collision, the gas tank ruptures. The gas then comes in contact with sparks created by the impact, which then causes the car to engulf in flames within seconds.

According to [__Wikipedia__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/Ford_Crown_Victoria_Police_Interceptor), the Ford Motor Company finally addressed the issue in 2005:

> Following the criticism of fires following [__rear-end collisions__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/Rear-end_collision “Rear-end collision”), 2005 and later model Police Interceptors now come with an optional [__automatic fire suppression__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/Automatic_fire_suppression “Automatic fire suppression”) system and special “trunk packs” designed to help prevent trunk contents from piercing the fuel tank in a collision. Each agency must pay an additional $150 for the trunk packs. For a more detailed discussion of the fuel tank leakage concerns that prompted these changes, see [__Ford Crown Victoria__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/Ford_Crown_Victoria “Ford Crown Victoria”).

Del Rio was driving a 2005 Crown Victoria which supposedly had this shield, according to [__Local 10__](http://www.local10.com/news/18053287/detail.html).

However, Texas deputy Bill Wilson’s Crown Victoria was also equipped with this shield, but his car engulfed in flames anyway when it was struck from behind, severely burning the deputy in 2005.

And in 2006, this shield did not prevent two Ohio highway patrol troopers and a civilian from dying in a fiery collision when the civilian’s pickup rammed into the troopers’ Crown Victoria.

So shield or no shield, the real question is, why are police departments still using the Crown Victoria?

As the Hollywood Police Department and local media [__probe__](http://www.miamiherald.com/news/broward/story/786342.html) to find out what caused a Hollywood squad car to engulf in flames, killing an officer Saturday night, it’s surprising that more emphasis has not been placed on the make of the squad car Alex Del Rio was driving that night; the Crown Victoria.

In fact, the first question that popped in my mind after I heard the news was whether or not the officer was driving a Crown Victoria, one of the most widely used models for squad cars in police departments throughout the country.

And one of the most dangerous cars ever introduced in this country, prone to fires and explosions after rear-end collisions.

When I was a police reporter in Phoenix for *The Arizona Republic,* one of the biggest stories we ever worked on was the story of [__Jason Schechterle__](http://www.azstarnet.com/clips/trialbyfire/day3.html)[__,__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/images%3Fq%3Djason%2Bschechterle%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Doff%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26hs%3DQhK%26sa%3DX) pictured right, a Phoenix police officer who survived one such explosion but suffered fourth-degree burns in the process in 2001, forever altering his appearance and life.

A year later, it was another Phoenix-area police officer involved in a Crown Victoria fire after his squad car was struck from behind. But this time, the incident killed [__Chandler Police Officer Robert Nielson.__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/16302-officer-robert-joseph-nielsen)

And in 1998, it was Arizona State Trooper Juan Cruz who was killed after his Crown Victoria ended up engulfed in flames.

At least 21 officers throughout the country have been killed in such incidents since the Ford Motor Company introduced the Crown Victoria in 1978, according to this [__timeline,__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/timeline.html) including two South Florida officers in 1997.

The [__problem__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/designproblem.html) lies in the design of the vehicle. Unlike most cars, the gas tank is not protected by the rear axle, so in a high impact rear collision, the gas tank ruptures. The gas then comes in contact with sparks created by the impact, which then causes the car to engulf in flames within seconds.

According to [__Wikipedia__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/Ford_Crown_Victoria_Police_Interceptor), the Ford Motor Company finally addressed the issue in 2005:

> Following the criticism of fires following [__rear-end collisions__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/Rear-end_collision “Rear-end collision”), 2005 and later model Police Interceptors now come with an optional [__automatic fire suppression__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/Automatic_fire_suppression “Automatic fire suppression”) system and special “trunk packs” designed to help prevent trunk contents from piercing the fuel tank in a collision. Each agency must pay an additional $150 for the trunk packs. For a more detailed discussion of the fuel tank leakage concerns that prompted these changes, see [__Ford Crown Victoria__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/Ford_Crown_Victoria “Ford Crown Victoria”).

Del Rio was driving a 2005 Crown Victoria which supposedly had this shield, according to [__Local 10__](http://www.local10.com/news/18053287/detail.html).

However, Texas deputy Bill Wilson’s Crown Victoria was also equipped with this shield, but his car engulfed in flames anyway when it was struck from behind, severely burning the deputy in 2005.

And in 2006, this shield did not prevent two Ohio highway patrol troopers and a civilian from dying in a fiery collision when the civilian’s pickup rammed into the troopers’ Crown Victoria.

So shield or no shield, the real question is, why are police departments still using the Crown Victoria?

Support our Mission

Help us build a database of bad cops

For almost 15 years, PINAC News has remained active despite continuous efforts by the government and Big Tech to shut us down by either arresting us for lawful activity or by restricting access to our readers under the pretense that we write about “social issues.”

Since we are forbidden from discussing social issues on social media, we have created forums on our site to allow us to fulfill our mission with as little restriction as possible. We welcome our readers to join our forums and support our mission by either donating, volunteering or both.

Our plan is to build a national database of bad cops obtained from public records maintained by local prosecutors. The goal is to teach our readers how to obtain these lists to ensure we cover every city, county and state in the country.

After all, the government has made it clear it will not police the police so the role falls upon us.

It will be our most ambitious project yet but it can only be done with your help.

But if we succeed, we will be able to keep innocent people out of prison.

Please make a donation below or click on side tab to learn more about our mission.

Subscribe to PINAC

Bypass Big Tech censorship.

Carlos Millerhttps://pinacnews.com
Editor-in-Chief Carlos Miller spent a decade covering the cop beat for various newspapers in the Southwest before returning to his hometown Miami and launching Photography is Not a Crime aka PINAC News in 2007. He also published a book, The Citizen Journalist's Photography Handbook, which is available on Amazon.

Leave a Reply

- Advertisement -

Latest articles