Dodge Durango reports for police duty

Americans like their SUVs. Automakers are hoping that their police do, too.

Dodge has announced that it is joining Ford and Chevrolet by rolling out a “special service” version of the Dodge Durango. The big cruiser is set to take on the Ford Explorer and Chevy Tahoe-based utility vehicles in the fight for the hearts and fleet contracts of law enforcement and emergency departments across the nation starting this spring.

The deputized Durango will be available in rear or all-wheel-drive versions powered by a choice of 290 V6 and 360 V8 engines with tow ratings of 6,200 and 7,400 pounds, respectively.

Read our review of the Dodge Durango

Modifications from the stock Durango include heavy-duty brakes, battery, water pump, engine oil cooler and a 220-amp alternator to help power aftermarket electronic accessories. Wiring for a spotlight and a third-row seating delete further prep the SUV for customized equipment needs.

With the demise of the long-dominant Ford Crown Victoria, the competition among “special services” vehicles built by the Big 3 is hotter than it has been in many years. The Dodge Charger already faces off against the new Ford Taurus-based Interceptor and Chevrolet Caprice Police Pursuit Vehicle, while Chrysler steps it up a notch with a Ram 1500 pickup truck that’s also ready for duty.

So which one is the most likely to get you to pull over?