Law enforcement agencies use many tools to encourage kids to make good choices and stay away from crime. The Tallapoosa County Sheriff's Office is using a new tool to get that message across.
They're using a new DARE vehicle that was seized from a convicted drug dealer. The vehicle is painted with all three county schools' logos on it, along with messages including "Don't Do Drugs" and "Don't Text and Drive." Sheriff Jimmy Abbett says the DARE program focuses on connecting with local children, encouraging to make the right decisions and staying away from bad influences.
"It's actually paid dividends. These kids, they'll step up, our officers will be a mentor to them, so it's very important to us. Partnership is what we need," said Abbett.
Local children from Horseshoe Bend spent Thursday at a presentation at the sheriff's office. Many of them said it had an impact.
"It teaches me to not take the wrong path and just not do bad stuff," said Xzavian Stevens.
"I'm going to try to make other people besides me that came on this trip just keep it straight and not mess up in their life," said Mackenzie Willoughby.
Sheriff's officials say something to catch children's eyes can help get that message across, including their new vehicle, which has made an impression on some DARE participants.
"Since it has all our schools, it can represent all Tallapoosa County in a good way," said Annie Cate Claybrook, another student.
"I think I need one too. They can get another one, put generals on it and give it to me," said Willoughby.
Tallapoosa County Sheriff Jimmy Abbett says the department is entering the vehicle in a national police vehicle design competition. It's on display at the sheriff's office and at regular visits to county schools.