They might just have the two coolest cars in Pasco County. And they were dreamed up with children in mind.
The Pasco Sheriff’s Office Crime Combat Vehicles were designed to look like a video game “to bring the kids to us,” Cpl. David Rodriguez said. “And it works."
The two Chevrolet Traverses, which were put into service in January, were paid for with drug forfeiture money, not county funds, Rodriguez said.
“We really get our bang for the buck out of it,” Rodriguez said.
The crime prevention officers' souped-up rides even have flat-screen TVs in the back so they can share videos during school visits and community events. The topics of conversation range from seatbelt safety to crime prevention and Prom Promise, a DUI prevention program, Rodriguez said.
The vehicles also have a QR code on the back, which allow anyone with a smartphone to connect immediately with the Pasco Sheriff’s Office on Facebook.
Rodriguez, a father of three teens himself, said connecting with the sheriff’s office on Facebook may be a deterrent to predators who might look for youth online.
If someone with bad intentions knows a youth is in contact with the sheriff’s office, they might think twice before befriending that child, Rodriguez said.
That idea came from a mother Rodriguez spoke with on one occasion, and he has embraced and encouraged that connection with Pasco children ever since, he said.
The county has two Crime Combat Vehicles in use; each cost $26,380, which includes the cost of the custom wrap. Rodriguez drives one, Cpl. Alan Wilkett drives the other, sheriff's office spokesman Kevin Doll said.