A South Carolina Sheriff Just Bought His Department a Fleet of 2024 Ford Mustang GTs

richland county sheriff mustang gt police vehicle
South Carolina Sheriff Buys 17 New Mustang GTsRichland County Sheriff's Department / Facebook

The deputies in the Richland County Sheriff's Department's Community Action Team (a.k.a. CAT) just scored a major upgrade to their fleet. On July 1, sheriff Leon Lott pulled the cover off of 17 new S650-generation Ford Mustang GTs, which the department hopes will help start conversations and build relationships with the community at large.

"We’re not picking a car just because it’s a cool car to drive, but cool cars attract people to come and build a relationship with us," Lott told Columbia, South Carolina newspaper The State. "These are hot cars. Kids and adults see them and like them, and then come up to the car and start talking to the deputy."

According to The State, this is not the first time that Lott has selected muscle cars for his officers. Lott created the CAT unit in 1998 during his first term as sheriff, with the intention of building a presence in the community outside of immediate responses to crimes. Lott initially chose to outfit his officers with fourth-generation Chevrolet Camaros. After Chevrolet discontinued the Camaro in 2003, Lott’s deputies found themselves in Dodge Magnums, according to The State; from there the department moved into Dodge Challengers, before going back to the Camaro once it returned in 2010.


Now that Chevrolet has killed the Camaro and the Challenger is defunct, the Ford Mustang was apparently the only choice for Lott and his crew.

richland county sheriff mustang gt police vehicle
Richland County Sheriff's Department / Facebook

While the cars do wear a Sheriff’s Office livery, they don’t feature the standard light bar of a patrol car. The department was also keen on leaving a number of the car’s exterior details in place, including the stock wheels and Mustang badging. The team reportedly hopes the V-8-powered cars will draw a lot of attention from both children and adults alike.

The department has a total of 15 officers working in the CAT unit, each with their own respective neighborhood in Richland County — which encompasses Columbia, S.C. and much of its surrounding areas — to serve. The officers aren’t limited to crime response either; the deputies respond to other community needs, such as faulty street lights for example. According to News19, CAT unit members also give out their cell phone numbers to community members, so that they have a direct line of contact with their local deputy.

richland county sheriff mustang gt police vehicle
Richland County Sheriff's Department / Facebook

“That’s what the CAT team does, it keeps that community energized all the time, making sure (community) meetings are going on, even when nothing has happened,” Lott said to The State. “The goal is to prevent crime in the first place. So, we wanted to make them a little unique, which is why we have specialized cars for them.”

Lott noted that the cost of the Mustang fleet was no more expensive than typical Chevrolet Tahoe or Ford Explorer police vehicles. Of course, a two-door sports car isn’t exactly the most practical machine when it does come time to arrest someone; presumably, officers in departments other than the CAT are equipped with more traditional cruisers that have actual, usable back seats.

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