Friday, January 13, 2012

Sarasotan Seeks Sheriff’s Sedan

You wouldn’t happen to have a car like this one, would you?

It’s a 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air sedan, decked out as a police car, and the vice president of the Sarasota (Florida) County Lodge No. 45 of the Fraternal Order of Police is looking for one.

The lodge is spearheading a project to find and restore a car that will match the ones first used by the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office nearly 60 years ago. Once the restoration is complete, the vehicle will be donated to the agency for various public uses.

Kevin Lynch, the VP of the lodge and a retired Sarasota County Sheriff’s lieutenant, is a dyed-in-the-wool "car guy" (we know the type!) and he is in charge of the project. The Sheriff’s first fleet of four vehicles consisted of 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air 150s, although they were two-door sedans, not four-doors like the car in the photo.

Not only was 1953 the first year that the Sheriff’s Office had cars, it was also the first year that its four officers had uniforms! The county was far more rural then than it is today. "Basically," said Lynch in a recent interview, "there were no humans south of Route 72, just cattle and fruit." That situation is very different today.

The lodge is seeking more than just a lead on a vehicle. It is seeking funding. Tax-deductible contributions to this project can be sent to The Community Foundation of Sarasota County, P. O. Box 49587, Sarasota, FL 34230-6587, marked for the antique patrol car project.

The FOP is also looking for in-kind services and donations such as labor and supplies needed for the project, and possibly the vehicle itself. Storage space will also be needed for the vehicle as well as initial transportation to Sarasota. If you can help, contact Lynch here. You can learn more about this project by visiting the web site of the lodge here.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Price of Addiction

The news comes today of a veteran police officer in our area pleading guilty to charges that he stole cocaine from his department’s evidence room for his personal use while he was serving as the evidence officer.

For this the officer faces up to three years in prison and must serve two before he is eligible for parole. He will be banned from holding any public job in New Jersey and he will forfeit his pension.

The price of addiction.

There are those who argue that police officers should be "held to a higher standard." Well, if jail time plus being barred from employment in your field plus forfeiture of a pension earned over the course of a 22-year career isn’t a higher standard, we don’t know what is.