The 2021 Ford F-150 Police Responder has made its debut and is now available for state and local governments. The new F-150 Police Responder has some nice upgrades, including an increased top speed (120 mph) and an automatic four-wheel-drive mode with a torque-on-demand transfer case. Based on the SuperCrew platform, the F-150 Police Responder was introduced in 2017 to overall positive reviews, but a few things needed to improve.
“Law enforcement agencies told us they would love to add F-150 Police Responder towing, hauling, and off-road performance to their fleets, but they need more confidence in speed and handling,” explained Greg Ebel, Ford police vehicle brand manager. “Whether suburban police departments, border patrol agents, or rural sheriffs, officers never know where the job might take them, but the all-new F-150 Police Responder provides a pickup truck option engineered to get them there faster and with greater agility than ever before.”
Engine & Powertrain
A 3.5-liter EcoBoost with 400 horsepower and 500 lb-ft. of torque lives under the hood of the 2021 F-150 Police Responder. The engine is paired with a 10-speed automatic Ford says is uniquely calibrated to meet the demands of law enforcement use. Likewise, the 10-speed in the F-150 Police Responder can accommodate speeds higher than what a stock F-150 can do.
The new Police Engine Idle feature is available for the 2021 F-150 Police Responder. With this feature, the officer can remove the key from the ignition and exit the truck with the engine still running. Lights and sirens will continue to operate as usual. Agencies can choose the type of keys to operate their trucks – up to four traditional fleet keys per truck or four available keyless fobs.
Towing & Payload Capacity
The 2021 Ford F-150 Police Responder is designed for law enforcement officials to tow whatever the situation calls for. That may include a boat or ATV for search and recovery operations, a horse trailer for specific patrols, or a mobile command center. When properly equipped, the new F-150 Police Responder can tow up to 11,200 lbs. and handle a max payload of 2,030 lbs.
The available Tow Technology Package adds a 360-degree camera, Trailer Reverse Guidance, and Integrated Trailer Brake Controller.
Torque-on-Demand Transfer Case
A new torque-on-demand transfer case includes a 4-Auto mode, with an electrically actuated clutch. The system automatically adjusts torque as needed so officers can focus more on driving than pushing buttons or turning a dial. On dry roads, the system defaults to a two-wheel drive mode but avoids the “crow-hopping” that commonly hinders a 4×4 vehicle. When officers encounter a situation where the terrain suddenly changes, the 4-Auto system simultaneously directs power to all four wheels on its own.
“4-Auto mode bridges the gap between 2-High and 4-High, and you see performance improvements as a result,” said Allen Magolan, Ford police vehicles integration manager. “On dry pavement is where you see the real payoff, because it allows you to carry more speed when cornering – a rare benefit in a pickup truck.”
Off-Road Tires & FX4 Package
Goodyear LRC BSW Wrangler Enforcer tires (LT265/70R18) keep the F-150 Police Responder balanced on a wide variety of surfaces. The standard FX4 package includes underbody skid plates, off-road-tuned shocks, an electronic-locking rear axle, and hill descent control.
The 2021 Ford F-150 Police Responder includes the latest tech for officers on patrol. The eight-inch touchscreen has an embedded modem that can receive wireless updates, while a separate four-inch productivity screen in the instrument cluster relays other important vehicle data. New driver assist features include a standard Reverse Sensing System, which provides an audible alert if the truck approaches an object while backing up.
Ford’s Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert is also available. Also optional is the Ford Telematics system, a fleet management tool that allows departments to optimize running costs and plan maintenance, among other things.
Law enforcement agencies can choose a “front console delete” option so they can install a department-specific center console. Otherwise, a new factory-installed center console is available as part of the Interior Upgrade Package, plus a new Interior Work Surface that provides an adjustable flat surface for writing or computer work.
Manufacturing & Availability
The 2021 Ford F-150 Police Responder will be assembled at Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Missouri. It will arrive in fleets later this fall.
Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association and the Society of Automotive Historians. He serves on the board of directors for the Ally Jolie Baldwin Foundation, is a past president of Detroit Working Writers, and a loyal Detroit Lions fan.