Seeing a pickup truck as a patrol vehicle for a sheriff’s office in a rural area probably wouldn’t be much of a surprise. Seeing one used by a natural resources/wildlife and game police department, not a surprise. Similarly, seeing a full-size SUV used by a SWAT officer in an urban area isn’t much of a surprise. SWAT officers need to carry so much and sedan trunks aren’t as big as they used to be, plus they have a lot more electronic equipment in them now than they used to. But would you be surprised to see a SWAT officer issued a pickup truck with a cap on the bed instead of an SUV?
That’s what’s happening in some areas; probably more than we realize. Recently we interviewed members of various SWAT teams in Maryland and Virginia and found out that some of their new vehicles are pickups instead of SUVs. Why? Cost savings, pure and simple.
One local SWAT officer, tasked with outfitting new vehicles got quotes for SUVs, pickup trucks, sedans and vans. He was surprised, by his own admission, to find that a fully equipped pickup truck, with a cap and secure storage in the bed, was less costly than an equivalent full-size SUV. Conversation with that officer revealed the challenge he had with his supervisory chain in convincing them that pickup trucks were a sensible way to proceed.
As you move forward selecting vehicles for your special operations units, it would be wise to examine vehicles not “traditional” in your agency use. As sedans seem less used, and mid-size SUVs become more widely used, for special units it would be wise to consider full-size SUVs, mid- and full-size pickup trucks and perhaps even some other recreational-type off-road vehicles.