New Bedford Police Unveil New ‘Autism Awareness’ Patrol Car
A new "Autism Awareness" patrol vehicle driven by New Bedford Police Chief Paul Oliveira arrived at William H. Carney Academy to a large group of excited students who were eager to take pictures with the car.
They were also given the opportunity to sit behind the wheel and the passengers seat as well as test the car horn.
The vehicle is brightly colored and adorned with the puzzle piece motif that has become a common symbol of autism awareness and support. It is a fully operational police vehicle with working emergency lights that were on throughout the unveiling.
The side doors of the vehicle read "New Bedford Police" and "Autism Awareness" below in a multicolor pattern. On the hood is the NBPD's official shield logo.
In attendance with Oliveira was Deputy Police Chief Adelino Sousa and other members of the New Bedford Police Department as well as Rosie, the NBPD's first ever compassion dog.
Oliveira told WBSM that with growing prevalence of autism in the community, he thought it was important that the NBPD shows its support.
"(Autism Spectrum Disorder) is really more common now than it is uncommon," Oliveira said. "It not only affects our own community it affects our police officers, their families and their lives. Not only does the car bring awareness to (Autism Spectrum Disorder) but it really creates this type of engagement for our officers in the community which right now is more important than ever."
Oliveira said the car will be assigned to the School Resource Officers in the city and it will also be deployed to community events not just in New Bedford but throughout the SouthCoast.
"It's really the community's car so it's going to be accessible and it's going to be available to everybody," he said.