QOPINION – The government of Costa Rica has invested (spent) millions on police cars like the Toyota Rav-4, Land Cruiser and Hilux to patrol the streets of the country. But, although these are all fine vehicles, there have one thing in common, THEY ARE NOT POLICE CARS.

Do you know why the Bomberos (fire department) purchase fire trucks, or the Cruz Roja (Red Cross) ambulances and not just any vehicle? Because they need the right unit to respond to an emergency, to carry out their job properly.

So why not apply this same logic to police cars?

No, the Ministerio de Seguridad Publica (MSP) – Ministry of Public Security – continues to insist on putting in the hands of its officials common cars.

The Toyota Land Cruiser Prado TX is a common police vehicle in Costa Rica.
The Toyota Hilux is a common police vehicle in Costa Rica. You and I can buy the same vehicle at the local Toyota dealer.

A police car has to run 24/7 and thus have better braking and durable suspension for the demanding use. A police car requires mechanical improvements, such as a 24 volt batter for alternate power supply to run equipment like radios, onboard computers, lights, etc. They should also have reinforced body panels and front and rear anti-shock bumpers. And much more.

The police force should also have a number of specialized vehicles, interceptors, if you will. The Organismo de Investigacion Judicial (OIJ) recently adopted the use of a tactical vehicle for raids, called the “Protector“, a modified Ford F350.

So why not give the street cop a similar tool, like the Ford Police Interceptor, specially designed to police work and not sold to the public.

Our neighbouring country, Panama, in 2014 purchased 39 Ford Police Interceptors  at an estimated cost of $1.9 million – that is US$48.000 dollars per.

Panama police use the Ford Interceptor for police work
Panama police use the Ford Police Interceptor.

The vehicles – 30 sedans based on a modified Taurus design and nine Interceptor Utility 4×4 trucks – are specially designed for police work with advanced electronic and traction systems, a reinforced chassis and sophisticated communications and intelligence equipment.

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The MSRP of a 2016 Ford Utility Police Interceptor in the United Sates is US$31.175.

In Costa Rica, a 2016 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado TX starts at US$59,900 dollars at Costa Rica’s exclusive Toyota dealer.  A 2016 Hilux starts at US$47.600.

The Toyota Land Cruiser Prado TX, even the stripped down version used by police, is considered a luxury vehicle in Costa Rica.
The Toyota Land Cruiser Prado TX, even the stripped down version used by police, is considered a luxury vehicle in Costa Rica.

The vehicles used by police in Costa Rica are the same ones you and I can buy at the local dealership.

Hopefully someday those in charge of our security take it into account, these vehicles are not for police work.