You are probably going to be reading about this first right here in the Advocate. A scoop, so to speak, if I have my newspaper lingo right. This month, officers in the Central Operations Division of the Dallas Police Department are going to start driving a C.O.P. Car.

Not news, many of you might say, but to those familiar with just about any government agency, you’ve caught on that the C.O.P. probably stands for something. I won’t disappoint you. The Police Department’s “Community Outreach Program” Car should be making its debut in the Adolphus Children’s Christmas Parade Dec. 2.

The C.O.P. Car is the idea of two young Dallas officers who work in East Dallas. Interactive Community Policing (ICP) Officers Thomas Sible and Tommy Raley approached me with their idea several months ago, and at first, I’ll have to admit, I thought they were out of their minds.

When they began to explain how they would use the car they were planning to create, I realized that sometime in the last few years, I must have somehow crossed over to that “other side” of the generation gap. It’s funny how those things happen.

Anyway, Officers Sible and Raley (Tom and Tommy) found out about a similar program in Oakland, Calif. Officers in Oakland have discovered a way to attract crowds of teenagers at public events.

Excited teenagers would actually walk up to the officers to ask questions and discuss hobbies with them. This was an opportunity for kids to discover that, amazing as it sounds, cops are real people, too.

What was turning the heads of these kids was a car that they would never, not even in their wildest dreams, believe could be associated with THE Police.

Customized cars of some kind have been popular for generations. The most popular customized vehicle with today’s youths from just about every walk of life is what is knows as a “Lowrider”.

That’s right, by the time you read this, there will be a customized Dallas police car that will have the ability to leap, with the help of some type of hydraulic mechanism, straight off the ground.

The C.O.P. Car will be used in parades, youth fairs, school functions, neighborhood functions and holiday activities where officers might have the opportunity to meet and talk with young people in their teens.

The correct use of this car is a great way for us to build relationships with that group of people who are just starting to make decisions that could affect the rest of their lives.

The Dallas Police Department’s C.O.P. Car is the result of some very hard work by Tom and Tommy, the open minds of Police and City Administrators, and the very generous donations of equipment, labor and money by the following local businesses: East Dallas Custom Hydraulics, National Tire Warehouse, Steakley Chevrolet, Code Three Equipment, Joe’s Hitch and Trailer, Hughes and Luce L.L.P., Winslow’s Trim Shop and The Dallas Tortilla Factory.

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