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Collier County Sheriff's Office releases new "ghost" cruisers


The Collier County Sheriff's Office is rolling out "ghost" cruisers in an effort to reduce speeding and other serious driving offenses.

CCSO joins law enforcement agencies around the country in using the new ghost cruisers.

"These are marked cars but the marking is subdued," said Lt. Mike Dolan, who heads up CCSO's Safety and Traffic Enforcement Bureau. "It gives us the ability to observe driving behaviors as they are happening naturally."

They are among four newly marked CCSO vehicles designed to enhance traffic safety. A half patrol car, half taxicab Is being used to promote an anti-DUI message.

Three of the vehicles are marked with subdued "ghost"-style striping, allowing them to go virtually unnoticed in traffic. Until, that is, when light hits the lettering and illuminates it.

In addition to the understated striping, the light bar on top of each of the ghost vehicles hugs the roofline, which means that when they are not activated they are more difficult to see than those that are mounted on a standard patrol car.

The subtle markings help deputies observe driving patterns without being noticed. The result will be an increased ability to catch aggressive drivers, speeders and impaired drivers.

But it's not all about being stealth. STEB plans to use the cars as educational tools as well. They will be displayed at community events to let people know that they're in use.

"We want to be up front about the fact that we are using these vehicles," Dolan said. "The goal is for drivers to employ safe driving practices whether they see us or whether they don't."

The markings on the fourth car drive home the message that it's safer - and far less expensive - to call a cab after drinking alcohol rather than attempt to drive.

The car, which is a retired CCSO patrol vehicle, was marked in partnership with the local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The front half bears typical CCSO green and gold markings, along with the words, "This ride is about $10,000." The rear end of the car looks like a taxi, with the words, "This ride is about $20." The words, "Choose your ride" also appear on the car.

The vehicle will be displayed at community events, along with a CCSO-produced video that outlines the ramifications of being arrested for DUI. The car will also be displayed alongside an electronic message board when CCSO is preparing for a DUI enforcement operation.

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