Richland County Sheriff Adds Mustang GTs to Patrol Fleet for Community Engagement

Richland County, SC — In a move designed to foster closer ties with the community, Sheriff Leon Lott has added 17 new Ford Mustang GTs to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department’s Community Action Team (CAT) fleet. The new vehicles were unveiled on July 1 and are expected to serve as conversation starters and relationship builders between deputies and residents.

Sheriff Lott has a history of outfitting his officers with muscle cars. The CAT unit, established by Lott in 1998 during his first term, has previously used Chevrolet Camaros and Dodge Challengers. Following the discontinuation of these models, the department has now opted for the Ford Mustang.

The new Mustangs, part of the S650 generation, are equipped with V-8 engines and wear a distinctive Sheriff’s Office livery. However, they maintain many of their stock features, including wheels and Mustang badging, and do not have the standard light bars typically seen on patrol cars. This approach aligns with the CAT unit’s mission to engage with the community beyond traditional law enforcement roles.

Each of the 15 officers in the CAT unit is responsible for a specific neighborhood in Richland County, which includes Columbia and its surrounding areas. Their duties extend beyond crime response to addressing various community needs, such as reporting faulty street lights. Deputies also provide their personal cell phone numbers to residents, offering a direct line of communication for community concerns.

Despite their flashy appearance, the Mustangs are reportedly no more expensive than the more conventional Chevrolet Tahoe or Ford Explorer police vehicles. While they may not be practical for arrests, as they lack adequate back seat space, other departments within the Sheriff’s Office will continue to use traditional police cruisers for those purposes.

The new fleet of Mustangs is expected to draw significant attention and serve as a symbol of the Sheriff’s Office’s commitment to community engagement and crime prevention.

For more information about the CAT unit or to get involved in community meetings, residents can contact their local deputy directly.

Photo: Richland County Sheriffs Department Facebook