ARIZONA ATTORNEY GENERAL AND FORD MEET TO DISCUSS POLICE SAFETY

DEARBORN, Mich., June 25, 2002 – Arizona Attorney General Janet Napolitano and Ford Motor Company Vice President Susan M. Cischke today announced a series of immediate actions Ford will undertake to further improve police officer safety in high-risk traffic patrol situations.

“Concrete steps forward were made today,” said Napolitano, who met with Ford officials to explore options to improve the performance of the Crown Victoria Police Interpceptors (CVPIs). "I'm pleased that Ford has agreed to partner with the law enforcement community to look at ways to reduce the number of high-speed collisions that can lead to fuel-fed fires."

“The CVPI is a safe and effective vehicle for police work, but Ford accepts the challenge to look for additional opportunities to make the vehicle and the police-working environment even safer in very high-risk situations,” said Cischke. "This effort is the number one priority at Ford."

Napolitano and Cischke announced they will jointly oversee the following actions:

Formation of Blue Ribbon Panel: This panel will identify and publish best practices and recommendations to help avoid accidents and improve officer safety during traffic patrol situations. Ford will use its global reach to research best-in-class practices and work with the panel to look at such issues as ways to improve vehicle visibility, use of police cars as barriers, and police procedures during traffic stops. Napolitano and Ford will each appoint four members to serve on the panel. A ninth member will be the head of a Technical Task Force also announced today.

Formation of Technical Task Force: This group, comprised of Ford and selected outside experts from the military, racing and aviation industry, will begin immediate testing of CVPIs in ways that recognize the unique police use of this vehicle. Ford will test CVPIs equipped with fuel tank bladders, shielding and trunk packs with the goal of improving the crashworthiness of the CVPI. The first phase of testing should be completed within 30 to 90 days. The task force also will explore new technologies to advance the state of the art in materials science and fire prevention.

Enhanced communication: Ford will enhance existing communications channels with local law enforcement agencies to provide their access to accident data and research regarding officer and vehicle safety issues. Ford also will work with law enforcement agencies to gain immediate access to CVPIs following accidents as such information will improve Ford's regular, ongoing monitoring of and analysis of real-world performance of CVPIs.

"This action plan represents a holistic approach to police officer safety by focusing on accident avoidance, vehicle crashworthiness and post-crash lessons learned," Cischke said. "Ford is committed not only to making a safe car even safer, but to improving all aspects of police safety."

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