Recently, editor Brittani Schroeder spoke with members of the Service de police de Laval about the recent updates to their fleet’s interior designs. The motivation behind the project was to help reduce musculoskeletal disorders of their officers.
Q: You’ve been working on this project since June 2020. Why was this so important to implement?
The upper management team of the Service was looking to create an innovative design for our patrol vehicles. With such a variety of officers placed in patrol vehicles, our objective was to provide these officers with a great work environment. The Service put together a team to gather as much information from the officers as possible. With the information all compiled, they then brought in experts to create an ergonomic and industrial design for both the Ford Explorer and Dodge Chargers. We then got our in-house technical team to work on the needs of our officers and how to get them in place. This in-house team can customize just about whatever you can think of, all in the interest of the safety of the users and passengers.
The new vehicle will be phased in gradually as our fleet is always changing. We typically replace between 25 to 30 patrol cars per year.
Q: How prevalent are musculoskeletal disorders within the police force?
Muscular problems such as lumbar, hips, shoulders and neck are an ongoing battle with the type of work, positioning of accessories and equipment in the patrol vehicles. This is why we went forward with the project of reconfiguring the interior of the vehicle for our Service members.
Q: What in the interior has changed to help reduce musculoskeletal disorders?
The in-house team developed many parts. This includes the modified long rifle mount between the seats with extra clip support; the positioning of the rifle now has less obstruction when leaning in to remove it from the rack. The printer has been mounted on the roof, which limits the officer’s stretch to remove the paper. The emergency system is mounted on the steering wheel, and a ceiling touch pad are both within arm’s length, which will limit the stretching of any limbs. The rear seat has smart belt systems, which in itself is safety minded for the user, but also reduces the stretch to reach the centre lock for the seat belt. The belts also have an inverted locking system which locks on the outer part of the seat. There is also a holster mounted on the pillar.
Our custom supports also include a custom shotgun support on the ceiling of the cargo area, a modified trunk organizer, our long time emergency system controller that has been reconfigured for these new vehicles, custom Ram cell holders, custom light covers for the back glass strobes—3D printed in-house—and a long list of items that we fabricate in our shop.
Q: Can you tell me about the new design of the centre console?
The initial request from the management team was to have a console that would meet our safety requirements, it had to be collapsible and no higher than the seat cushion in case of a side impact. We also needed a console that would hold the radio head and keyboard base, so our team worked with Ford and Dodge to get a 3D design of the driveshaft tunnel. The team also wanted to have the cup holders in the console. Knowing all these changes would help in the ergonomic movements of the users, from there we built upwards and came up with a custom design that we have for our patrol units. This custom design had specific changes such as narrowing at the back to have more hip room for their service equipment.
Q: Were the Ford Explorer Hybrid and the Dodge Charger chosen specifically for this project?
Our fleet is presently changing over from a majority of Taurus AWD units to a mix of Ford Explorer Hybrid and Dodge Charger V6 AWD. We have approximately 140 identified units and of those were 105 Taurus AWD. We also have approximately another 160 units for all kinds of support teams in all makes and models.
Q: What was the reaction from the Service members when the design was unveiled?
We believe the project team that was put together for what is called the “Patrol Vehicle of Tomorrow” really came through with a win. We held an open house in our shop for the first time and invited the patrol members and management to get their feelings. We were astonished to see their reactions. We’re very fortunate to have a management team that wants to minimize the musculoskeletal disorders and build the safest vehicle possible.
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