CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. — A little friendly competition amongst staff at the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office is uniting students throughout the county.
It’s the Florida Sheriffs Association’s 2022 Law Enforcement vehicle contest, pitting the state’s policing agencies in a battle of the best show-car.
"We have two of our SRO cars and we have our Bronco- our centennial vehicle.”
At the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, you’ll find anything but your typical squad car.
“It’s a way of everybody in the state seeing the different vehicles that different agencies have,” said Lt. Jon Waterhouse, Juvenile Operations Unit with the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office.
That’s because sitting outside three Charlotte County schools are these freshly painted student resource officer cars.
"We had two of our high school vehicles designed by some of the school staff and our SRO unit came up with a really cool design to kind of brand that high school," said Waterhouse. "It went really well with the school. Port Charlotte High School got their pirate mobile and Lemon Bay High School got their manta ray vehicle.”
Part of a special, statewide competition among policing agencies.
"The actual SUV is the same SUV you see on the roads. We used older vehicles that had older miles on it. It is just like a normal police car, and you’ll see them on the street when they’re not at the school.”
But it’s going further than just asking the question of which agency has the freshest looking ride.
"The reactions were, actually, more than what we ever expected," says Waterhouse. "Just kids that were walking by stopped in their tracks and started taking pictures- they couldn’t believe it. It was almost as if they had their own vehicle for their school that they’re proud of. It was a great reaction, and it was great for the agency as a whole.”
A contest sparking the interest of the potential recruits of tomorrow. Making that connection ever more meaningful between law enforcement and students.
"Anything we can do to connect with the youth, the sheriff is behind that 100%. This was just a great program that we came up with and a way of, maybe, bringing people into the profession they may not have thought about before.”
Voting closed on Tuesday and winners will be announced soon. Once announced they will get a custom plaque.
Plus, will be recognized at the 2022 FSA Executive Leadership Conference and Fleet Exhibition.