Ford officials have asked the company's management to stop building and selling police vehicles. The reason for this move is related to the numerous cases of racial discrimination and police violence that have occurred repeatedly in various countries and especially in USA, with the most recent example being the murder of an African-American George floyd by a "white" police officer.
Ford CEO Jim Hackett responded to company officials in a letter, saying that the Ford Police Interceptor undoubtedly helps police officers do their job, noting that the company will continue its business.
Ford is the leading automaker in the United States in the manufacture and sale of specially designed police vehicles, accounting for about two-thirds of the market. Although not a major source of revenue for the company (approximately $ 160 billion in 2019), Ford has long argued that its full range benefits from new technologies being tested in police vehicles, such as hybrid electric vehicles. systems transmission.
National protests, however, have prompted some Ford officials to reconsider the company's relationship with police. The issue was raised recently meeting and now employees, including "black" employees belonging to the Ford Ancestry Network (FAAN) employee resource team, have issued a letter urging the company to stop development, the production and sale of all products and vehicles intended for the police. Many employees have since signed the letter, without knowing the exact number, and want the company to take action by July 15.
The incessant incidents of police violence recorded in recent months have caused concern and change in some industries, especially in the field of technology. For example, the Nextdoor discontinued a program that allowed users to forward posts to the police. At the same time, the Amazon announced it would stop allowing police to use the technology face recognition for a year, the same Microsoft. All of this came after technology workers opposed last year their companies' contracts with government agencies.
But so has the transport industry, with the exception of bike companies, which are divided on the issue, although some of the most horrific videos to go viral in the past two months have shown Ford police vehicles chasing protesters. .
This is one reason why Ford officials are now arguing that the company should end its relationship with the police, stressing that they can not fight systemic racism and at the same time support and strengthen the systems who commit violence against "black" Americans.
They also said that the vehicles designed and built by Ford employees have been used as a means of police brutality and repression. They also pointed out that while many participate, support and supply the police with good intentions, these racist policing practices that plague society are historical and systemic. They explained that this is a story and a system that has been perpetuated by Ford for over 70 years, that is, since Ford introduced the first police package in 1950.
As an indisputable part of this history and system, employees argue that the company is too late to think and act differently to tackle racism.
When Hackett spoke publicly about the protests taking place, he said that there were no simple answers and that Ford was not interested in superficial actions. He added that it is time to lead and commit to creating a fair culture that is worthy of the company's employees. However, in an internal letter to employees, Hackett defended the company's operation to build police vehicles. In addition, he argued that police vehicles, SUVs and Ford trucks could make police officers safer and more responsible.
Hackett explained that the issues that arise regarding the reliability of police officers have nothing to do with the vehicles they drive. In fact, Ford's smarter vehicles can be used not only to improve police officers' ability to protect and serve, but also to provide data that can make the police safer and more responsible. Hackett also noted that the abolition of vehicles manufactured by Ford specifically for the police would harm the safety of police officers and prevent them from doing their job. He went on to say that, taking into account the knowledge, the new ones possibilities and the company leadership, considers that these unpleasant circumstances offer Ford an even greater opportunity not only to pursue new innovative solutions, but also to use its unique position to support the dialogue and reform needed to create a a safer community for all.
Hackett closed his letter by thanking the employees who spoke on the issue, but at the same time pointed out that Ford will not change course. He said he appreciated the people talking to him about the issue, as it helped him write this letter to explain why the company continues to live up to its commitment to police services around the world.