Letter to the Editor from PBA President published in the Detroit Free Press

Letter to the Editor from PBA President published in the Detroit Free Press
PBA, 2003-12-23

The Detroit Free Press recently published a two-day series of articles on the propensity of the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor to burst into flames upon impact in rear-end collisions. PBA President Daniel M. De Federicis wrote a letter to the editor of the newspaper lauding the paper for having the fortitude to print such a hard-hitting, honest investigative series of articles about the automotive company based in Detroit, where the newspaper is published. To read the letter, click on the following link or refer to the text below.


December 19, 2003

I would like to commend the Detroit Free Press for having the character and courage to print an investigative series on the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor (Dec. 8 and 9), which essentially exposed the Ford Motor Co.’s negligence in its handling of the Ford Crown Victoria debacle. These articles were accurate, balanced and well-written.

Rather than using state of the art engineering solutions to fix this deadly fire problem, Ford uses aggressive lobbying and slick public relations campaigns to distract the public and the government from the real issue, namely that many police officers and civilians are needlessly dying in these horrible and avoidable fires. I have two questions for Ford executives: Must it always be about money? How do you sleep at night?

Ford does not want to hear about the fact that these heroic police officers do not die instantly. They are often trapped for dozens of seconds as the fuel-fed fire agonizingly burns them to death while they frantically try to escape through doors that are jammed shut. There are horrifying witness accounts of the police officer screaming and trying to get out of what ultimately became their coffins.

Just look at what Phoenix Police Officer Jason Schechterle has had to live through, and he is actually one of the lucky ones. I cannot imagine a more horrifying way to die, and I cannot imagine why Ford has fought the solutions advocated by police groups nationwide. Again, must it always be about money?

Today is exactly one year since New York State Trooper Robert Ambrose died in a horrifying Crown Vic fire. My union has run into a brick wall when we have dealt with Ford and tried to get them to take action to make sure this never happens again.

Daniel M. De Federicis President Police Benevolent Association of New York State Troopers Albany, N.Y.