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South Carolina Sheriff Buys 17 New Mustang GTs for His Deputies, Wants ‘5.0’ Badge Visible

Richland County Sheriff's Department Ford Mustang GT 8 photos
Photo: Richland County Sheriff's Dept / Facebook
Richland County Sheriff Leon LottRichland County Sheriff's Department Ford Mustang GTRichland County Sheriff's Department Ford Mustang GTRichland County Sheriff's Department Ford Mustang GTRichland County Sheriff's Department Ford Mustang GTRichland County Sheriff's Department Ford Mustang GTRichland County Sheriff's Department Ford Mustang GT
Have you ever been to Richland County? It’s in South Carolina, and we don’t advise you getting caught breaking the law over there, because the Sheriff’s Department will be on your tail in a hurry. As a matter of fact, they just traded in their old Chevrolet Camaro patrol vehicles for brand-new Ford Mustang GT spec models, 17 of them in total.
To be more specific, the cars have been purchased for the Community Action Team, meaning officers that don’t necessarily focus on a single aspect of law enforcement, but are rather free to focus on where their efforts are needed most.

According to Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, the reason why he ordered 17 new Mustangs for his department is simple: he wanted to help build and strengthen relationships between his deputies and the community, and nothing brings people together quicker than talking about “hot cars”, as he put it.

Lott unveiled his department's new Mustang GTs just last week, explaining how his deputies will use these high-performance sports cars to “help spark organic conversations between community members and deputies, aiming ultimately to build long-lasting relationships,” as quoted by The State.

“These cars draw attention,” said Lott. “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. That’s done on purpose to attract people to the vehicle, the deputy, (where we tell them) who we are and what we do.”

Lott created the CAT unit back in 1998 (he’s been sheriff since 1996), and is seeking reelection this year.

His unit has been using fast cars since back when Bill Clinton was still in office. Back then, they had Chevy Camaros on their hands. They then went from Camaros to Dodge Magnums, to Challengers and back to Camaros when Chevy began making them again.

Richland County Sheriff's Department Ford Mustang GT
Photo: Richland County Sheriff's Dept / X
Now that the Camaro has been discontinued (for the time being), Lott decided to opt for the all-new Ford Mustang GT as the vehicle of choice for his CAT unit. As you can see, these Mustangs look super sleek (they don’t even have a light bar on top), boasting factory wheels and Ford emblems, including ‘GT’ at the rear and ‘5.0’ on the fenders.

Not sure if everyone will make this connection, but not only does 5.0 represent an iconic displacement figure for the Mustang, but it’s also a slang term for law enforcement, where it’s often spelled ‘Five-O’. Lott could have had the 5.0 badging deleted but chose not to. That’s saying something.

“Everybody loves a fancy sports car,” added the sheriff. “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.”

As for how much these Mustangs cost, Lott claims his department paid about the same as they would for a standard patrol vehicle, like the Ford Explorer or Chevrolet Tahoe. Makes sense to us.
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About the author: Sergiu Tudose
Sergiu Tudose profile photo

Sergiu got to experience both American and European car "scenes" at an early age (his father drove a Ford Fiesta XR2 supermini in the 80s). After spending over 15 years at local and international auto publications, he's starting to appreciate comfort behind the wheel more than raw power and acceleration.
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