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Updated 2016 Ford Police Interceptor Utility Debuts in Chicago

Breaking the law? Watch out for this behind you.

Bad guys now have a new nemesis, with Ford's Police Interceptor Utility getting a fresh look and even more crook-catching technology at the 2015 Chicago auto show. The model is based on the civilian 2016 Ford Explorer, which was updated in November at the Los Angeles auto show.

Memorize the look of the 2016 Ford Police Interceptor Utility's nose, which has a restyled grille and narrower headlights, before it appears in your rear-view mirror. The SUV's rear and dashboard have also been redesigned, and its electrical system revamped to better power the various accessories used by officers. With the new front and rear fascias, Ford says that flashing blue-and-red lights can be more easily integrated into the car's bodywork for a "stealthier look for patrol duty."

New technology includes a washer for the backup camera, which sends images to a four-inch touchscreen in the center stack and, optionally, to the rear-view mirror. A new interior release switch for the liftgate allows the driver to unlock the cargo area for 45 seconds at a time. The optional Surveillance Mode feature automatically rolls up the driver's window and locks the doors if somebody approaches the Police Interceptor Utility from behind.

Motivation to chase down scofflaws comes from either a 304-hp, 3.7-liter V-6 or a 365-hp, 3.5-liter EcoBoost twin-turbo V-6. The standard six-speed automatic transmission switches into a Pursuit shift pattern if it detects aggressive driving, and even has special programming to deal with J-turns -- when an officer reverses quickly and then spins the vehicle 180-degrees to change direction.

As on all versions of the Ford Police Interceptor Utility that have been sold since 2012, the newest cop SUV benefits from strengthened components throughout: larger suspension springs, tougher engine mounts, heavy-duty wheel bearings, upgraded brakes, tougher 18-inch steel wheels. Options include bullet-resistant ballistic shielding in the driver and passenger doors, a blind-spot warning system, Sync voice-activation, rear parking sensors, and rear cross-traffic alert.

Look for the 2016 Ford Police Interceptor Utility at the Chicago auto show, and then hope you never see one chasing you down in real life.