New Crown Vic safety device unveiled

(08/07/03) WHITE PLAINS - The Ford Motor Company is responding to calls to make its Crown Victoria police cruiser safer by announcing it has a new safety device that will protect the men and women sworn to uphold the law.

Ford's new safety device will be unveiled in its 2005 Crown Victoria models. The fire suppression device is expected to give police officers enough time during an accident to get out of the car before it has a chance to go on fire. The new device is supposed to prevent accidents like the one in Yonkers that claimed the life of State Trooper Robert Ambrose. After being struck from behind, Ambrose's gas tank exploded.

Since that accident last December, Ford has installed protective gas tank shields in about 280,000 Crown Victoria police cruisers. There are 350,000 police-model Crown Vic's nationwide and 1,000 are driven by NYS troopers.

The newest device will be an option in the 2005 models, but Ford is not sure yet if and how much more it will cost. Senator Nick Spano (R-Yonkers) says no matter the cost, it's worth it.

But not everyone is ecstatic about the news. In a statement, the president of the NYS Troopers Union says, "It is our view that troopers are driving ticking time bombs. Today's announcement doesn't change that for the next two years."

Ford says with this new technology, it's doing all it can to make the police cruisers as safe as possible.

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