Saanich Police Department

Saanich Police rev up new ride

This 2012 Dodge Charger SRT-8 once belonged to a drug dealer, but was seized by police

You can practically imagine the cops sliding over the hood of Saanich’s newest police vehicle.

But before you think of Starsky and Hutch, pump your brakes, because this ride won’t be bustin’ bad guys.

The Saanich Police Department showed off its new community engagement vehicle on Monday, a forfeited 2012 Dodge Charger SRT-8.

Sgt. Jereme Leslie said the provincial civil forfeiture office (CFO) seized the vehicle from a drug dealer in the Lower Mainland in August 2015.

“It’s a really nice-looking vehicle, and people will probably be engaged with that vehicle,” said Leslie. “That will start a conversation with police and community.”

The police department added the extra graphics to remind criminals what can happen. (Saanich Police Department)

The vehicle will be shown off at various community events such as Strawberry Festival or Music in the Park, he said. The vehicle will also appear at local schools, parades, the annual Cops for Canada Tour de Rock ride, and other events.

Saanich acquired the vehicle through two officers who approached the CFO, which offers a lease program.

“After that, we then had it custom-wrapped, and now we will roll it out to our fleet.”

Under the lease arrangements, Saanich has paid a symbolic $1 charge in order to use it for the next two years. At that time they can apply for an extension, or return the vehicle to the province.

Overall, Saanich has 40 marked police vehicles, he said.

The Dodge Charger features an eight-cylinder, 6.4 litre engine and 465 horsepower. A custom lighting package and paint job featuring the Saanich Police logo add to the appeal. Its back also includes graphics that say ‘Seized From a Drug Dealer.’

“The message is crime doesn’t pay,” said Leslie. “The B.C. Civil Forfeiture Office will go after proceeds of crime and those assets.”

This of course raises the obvious question: how does this vehicle, a muscle car, drive? Leslie said he has driven it for a “very short period” but could not offer a complete assessment.

Online reaction to the vehicle varied. One respondent to a tweet announcing the vehicle wondered whether it would be used on patrol. Others questioned the appearance of the vehicle, while others defended it.

Some also questioned the environmental message that the vehicle is sending, longing for an electric vehicle police fleet.

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com


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