Newell: Ford employees want to stop making cars for cops - CEO responds

Where is "cancel culture" going to take us next?

Newell Normand
July 12, 2020 - 1:18 pm
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Cancel culture seems to be hitting new heights all the time, and the sights are set on the Ford Motor Company, one of the largest automakers in America, which designs and produces specially-designed vehicles for law enforcement purposes. They account for about two-thirds of that market. Some employees of Ford now want to stop all business with law enforcement because of the perceived association with racism and oppression. 

A letter sent to Ford CEO Jim Hackett said “George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police alongside a Ford Police Interceptor. Days later, police officers drove Ford Police Interceptors into crowds of protestors in New York City, Los Angeles, and in past weeks our vehicles have been used to deploy chemical weapons banned by the Geneva conventions. Throughout our history, the vehicles designed and built by Ford employees have been used as accessories to police brutality and oppression. We know that while many join, support or supply law enforcement with good intentions, these racist policing practices that plague our society are historic and systemic. A history and system perpetrated by Ford for over 70 years, ever since Ford introduced the first-ever police package automobile in 1950, and as an undeniable part of that history and system, we are all long overdue to think and act differently on our role in racism.”

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Maybe we should start looking at the automobiles used by armed robbers. Murderers. Rapists. Car thieves. Maybe you should stop making those too, because then you’re facilitating those heinous crimes. I could easily make that connection. Let’s identify the vehicle of preference in the 16,000+ homicides committed in 2018, as opposed to the 998 police shootings that same year. You actually may be fostering a far greater problem in society than just the issue with police vehicles. 

Hackett fired back a letter of his own that said he doesn’t “see it as controversial that Ford Police Interceptors help police do their jobs, and the company will continue making these police cars. He goes on to say that while he could see where the employees are coming from (I don’t), he also believes that “the first responders that protect us play an extraordinarily important role in the vitality and safety of our society.”

I don’t know where this is going to end. This defund-and-dismantle movement in this country is going to take many forms, whether it is taking away the 1033 military surplus program, simply taking away money, or the abolishment of violent crime units like they did in New York (that didn’t work out very well).

How does this make officers feel? During my time as Sheriff at JPSO, and as it was under my predecessor, we were a Ford shop. We didn’t have any other vehicles. We believed it was much easier to maintain our parts inventory a lot more cheaply and efficiently if we were all driving the same vehicle. So now, should officers trust the Ford employees that they’re actually making a quality product if they feel this strongly about being involved in making this product at all? 

This may be an opportunity for another automaker to step up and do something. Maybe there’s some other folks up there in Detroit who feel different about the work and the sacrifice police officers make, putting themselves at risk for people they don’t even know. 

I’ve been saying for weeks now - where does it end? The reason I come back to this every day is that I’m not sure we know the answer.

 

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