|High tech Tahoe acquired through federal grant|
The Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office recently acquired a black 2013 Chevrolet Tahoe, valued at $43,000, through a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) grant administered by the Florida Department of Transportation (DOT). The state-of-the-art vehicle is designed for traffic enforcement, traffic safety and educational purposes.
Ken Ellis, Traffic Safety Administrator for DOT, was in Wakulla County Monday, Aug. 19 to discuss the vehicle with area media.
The Tahoe has 50 emergency lights to provide better visibility on the road when tracking down vehicles and it has a siren that is designed to vibrate the ground so that it draws attention even if someone cannot hear the siren noises well.
Sheriff Charlie Creel has nicknamed the vehicle “Darth Vader” while Sgt. Mike Helms of Special Ops who drives the vehicle has given it the nickname of “Black Mamba” after the venomous African snake.
Sgt. Helms said the vehicle can stream live video to Smartphones as well as send still photographs taken to any division within the WCSO. The vehicle gives the WCSO a report of everywhere Sgt. Helms has been during the day and allows him to video tape traffic stops. The vehicle also allows the sergeant to map areas where calls of service come from while also tracking crime statistics based on the calls.
If the sergeant is called to a specific location to provide traffic enforcement the vehicle is capable of sending an e-mail to the WCSO letting the agency know how many times the targeted area has been patrolled.
The vehicle also contains a secure transportation cage for prisoners and plenty of storage space for all of the materials needed by a sergeant on regular road patrol.
“We are pleased to be able to add this very special vehicle to our fleet at no direct cost to Wakulla County taxpayers,” said Sheriff Creel.
The Tahoe is being used to keep drunk drivers off the road during the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over national drunk driving campaign which began Friday, Aug. 16 and continues until Monday, Sept. 2.