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Chicago Assembly Plant to build a new police vehicle

The 2016 Ford Police Interceptor Utility is unveiled during the media preview of the Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place in Chicago in 2015. The Chicago Assembly Plant in Hegewisch makes the Police Interceptor Utility and will make a new police vehicle. 

The Chicago Assembly Plant in Hegewisch will start making a new police vehicle, its third vehicle specifically designed and manufactured for law enforcement duties.

Ford announced the automotive factory at 126th Street and Torrence Avenue will build one of two new hybrid police vehicles in Chicago and equip the other with police gear at its Chicago Mod Center, the Troy Design & Manufacturing facility in Hegewisch. It was not disclosed where the other will be built.

"Ford announced seven new global electrified vehicles coming in the next five years, including a new hybrid police vehicle that will be built right here at the Chicago Assembly Plant," United Auto Workers Vice President Jimmy Settles said in a letter to UAW Local 551 workers at the plant. "We are excited that these vehicles will be built right here in the U.S. It's possible thanks to your continued hard work and dedication."

A spokeswoman for the Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker did not respond to inquiries about the timing, job creation and other details.

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About 4,239 workers at the Chicago Assembly Plant and 1,335 workers at the Chicago Stamping Plant in Chicago Heights build the Explorer, Taurus, Police Interceptor Utility and Police Interceptor. The factory on the Calumet River also had made the Lincoln MKS until it was discontinued last year.

Ford Chicago Assembly Plant is best known for the top-selling Explorer but also built 34,707 police vehicles last year.

About 175 workers equip those vehicles with flashing lights, ballistic plates and specialized police gear at the Troy Design & Manufacturing facility in an industrial warren along the Calumet River on Chicago's far South Side. Locally made cop cars roll off the assembly line every 17 minutes there, and are then sold in more than 80 countries around the world.

Local UAW members celebrated the new vehicle on social media, saying it would mean job security and create the opportunity to work overtime.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.