A group of Ford employees noticed that the company is a huge vehicle supplier to police departments, cranking out thousands of police interceptors every year. In the current climate of bashing on police, the group sent a letter to Ford CEO Jim Hackett and Chairman Bill Ford demanding that the company stop making the vehicles.
In part, the letter stated:
“Throughout history, the vehicles that Ford employees design and build 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 perpetuated by Ford for over 70 years — ever since Ford introduced the first-ever police package in 1950. As an undeniable part of that history and system, we are long overdue to ‘think and act differently’ on our role in racism.”
The letter then called for Ford to cease all development, sale, and production of all custom police vehicles and products, and to respond to the letter by July 15.
They didn’t have to wait that long.
Hackett responded to the group with a nice, almost apologetic letter, but his message was clear… “Not a chance.”
“By taking away our Police Interceptors, we would be doing harm to their safety and making it harder for them to do their job. Again, this is why, given our insights, new capabilities and leadership, I believe these unfortunate circumstances present Ford with an even greater opportunity to not only innovate new solutions but also leverage our unique position to support the dialogue and reform needed to create safer communities for all.”
“I do appreciate people speaking their mind to me on this issue – it helped me generate this note to explain why we are continuing our commitment to police forces all over the world in our trusted products.
“Thank you for caring so deeply about the Company and our people, and for all you do for Ford.”
It could be that a company CEO is more circumspect about society and is committed to being part of the solution instead of compounding the problem by joining a movement to starve police departments of the tools they need to do their jobs.
It could also be that a company CEO sees all the red ink on his books as his company bleeds cash during the pandemic, and knows that they haven’t been able to build a next-generation, electric vehicle that anyone wants to buy and he’s scared to death of losing any revenue.
Maybe it’s a little of both.