Friday, June 22, 2018
Public safety

NASCAR inspires look of new Pasco sheriff's patrol cars

NEW PORT RICHEY — It started with NASCAR.

Cpl. Keith Krapfl was watching a race on his living room TV with his son toward the end of last year's racing season. With each pass of the stock cars looping the track, he noticed the logos — these days positioned on the cars' rear quarter panels. The design, he thought, was perfect. Different. Especially on a patrol car.

"Man," he remembers thinking, "what would it look like if that said 'Sheriff'?"

He jumped up from the couch and plopped in front of his computer to open his design program. He spent weeks of his spare time — "more time than I'd like to say" — experimenting with colors, designs and shapes.

Krapfl is an experienced auto artist and deputy. He designed the decal for the Pasco SWAT team's BearCat armored vehicle. He's also on the SWAT team.

In his latest burst of creativity, he drew 15 concept designs. Last year, when Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco decided the agency was due for new patrol cars, the Ford Taurus, he mined his deputies for ideas.

He thought they should have a say in the design because "They're the ones driving the cars."

Within a few months, Nocco had a folder full of designs. Some were colored with pencil. Some were copies of other agencies' designs. Krapfl turned in official-looking designer renderings, fresh off his printer.

Nocco said he would stop people working in the Sheriff's Office and ask them which design they liked most. One stood out almost unanimously, he said.

In green letters streaming off the rear quarter panel are the words "Pasco Sheriff." The sheriff's gold star appears to shoot toward the front.

The older model cars are striped with black, green and gold lines that end in a star on the front door. Below that, "SHERIFF" appears in black across the middle of the car.

Nocco said he chose the Taurus to replace the aging fleet of Chevy Impalas the agency currently uses. As newer cars are phased in, the older ones will go to other employees in the agency.

Decal jobs on the new cars, paid for by the Penny for Pasco, cost $189 per car and were done at Crockett's Auto Body & Repair. Of the 56 that will replace part of the fleet, 13 are on the road now.

Because his design was chosen, Krapfl got the first one.

He said people have been receptive to the new design. Some beep and flash a thumb's up while he's driving. A photo of the new car appeared on the Sheriff's Office's Facebook page, where most commenters praised it.

"Drove past one on Ridge near 19," wrote Zack Ayotte of New Port Richey. "Pretty classy."

"AWESOME!!" wrote Philip Collier of Tarpon Springs.

"Looks like a kids car," wrote Hector Aviles.

Other officers have ribbed Krapfl about the new design, too. "Just cop stuff," he said.

About the design: "It's different," he said. "I don't think you're going to find another Sheriff's Office with a design like that."

Alex Orlando can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 869-6247.

Comments
Tampa boy, 14, shot on bike, police asking for help

Tampa boy, 14, shot on bike, police asking for help

TAMPA — De’Nico Thomas, 14, isn’t a bad kid, police say, but he was the victim of a terrible shooting.Thomas had played video games with a friend Wednesday night and was likely bicycling home when someone fired a gun, critically wounding him in the a...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Clearwater police search for ‘Bic Bandit’ accused of stealing lighters

Clearwater police search for ‘Bic Bandit’ accused of stealing lighters

CLEARWATER — Police detectives are searching for a man coined the "Bic Bandit" based on reports that he’s stolen dozens of lighters from the same 7-Eleven.According to Clearwater police, the man has swiped the lighters four times in the last month, t...
Updated: 4 hours ago
FHP: One dead, three seriously injured in head-on Pasco crash

FHP: One dead, three seriously injured in head-on Pasco crash

DADE CITY — A Dade City man was killed and three others were seriously injured after a pickup truck and motorcycle crashed head-on Friday morning, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.Floyd Williamson, 72, of Lakeland, was driving northbound on U....
Updated: 4 hours ago
Body of missing Hernando park ranger found in Georgia; boyfriend being questioned

Body of missing Hernando park ranger found in Georgia; boyfriend being questioned

Georgia detectives on Friday recovered the body of Mitzi Marie Babb, a 43-year-old Hernando park ranger who had been missing since Tuesday.Her boyfriend, arrested Thursday on unrelated charges, has been called a person of interest in her disappearanc...
Updated: 5 hours ago
A Pasco driver was annoyed another driver was texting. So he pointed a firearm at her.

A Pasco driver was annoyed another driver was texting. So he pointed a firearm at her.

PORT RICHEY — A 41-year-old Uber driver was arrested Friday after police said he pointed a firearm at another driver because he was annoyed that she was texting and driving.Philip Macchio was driving near State Road 52 and U.S. 19 around 12:30 a.m. F...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Deputies: Cheerleading coach sent explicit images to 16-year-old

Deputies: Cheerleading coach sent explicit images to 16-year-old

A 28-year-old cheerleading coach faces charges for engaging in "inappropriate behavior" with a 16-year-old girl, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.Victor Martin Valenty faces 10 counts of traveling to meet a minor, distributing ob...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Suspect arrested in rapper XXXTentacion’s shooting death

Suspect arrested in rapper XXXTentacion’s shooting death

FORT LAUDERDALE — Authorities in Florida have arrested a suspect in the killing of rising rap star XXXTentacion, who was fatally shot in his luxury BMW electric car as he left an upscale motorcycle dealership. Dedrick Devonshay Williams, 22, o...
Published: 06/21/18
St. Pete police: Three lieutenants lied about their work hours

St. Pete police: Three lieutenants lied about their work hours

ST. PETERSBURG — Three lieutenants responsible for supervising the police officers who patrol the city were found to have been faking their work hours instead of showing up for duty on time.In some cases, the watch commanders submitted time sheets st...
Published: 06/21/18
Deputies: Zephyrhills bank robbed, suspect flees on bicycle

Deputies: Zephyrhills bank robbed, suspect flees on bicycle

A Suntrust Bank in Zephyr-hills was robbed early Thursday afternoon, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.At 12:50 p.m., deputies said, the man walked into the bank at 34511 State Road 54 and presented a note demanding money, though he did ...
Published: 06/21/18
Man found dead in Hillsborough Bay had a big fan in the cat world

Man found dead in Hillsborough Bay had a big fan in the cat world

TAMPA — To his friends and neighbors at Tampa Baptist Manor, Norman Lester Porterfield was the man who fed and spoiled Lucky, the scruffy stray calico cat in the back yard. To his friends and coworkers at the Salvation Army, he was a great athlete, a...
Published: 06/21/18