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Port Richey police driving into the future

A fleet of new police cars has hit the streets in Port Richey, and police Chief Al Latchford said the cars' futuristic look is the shape of things to come.

"I think it's right into the '90s and going into the year 2000," Latchford said. "It's pretty neat."

Seven 1993 Ford Crown Victorias were bought recently to replace police cars that were destroyed during the no-name storm of March 13.

Those cars were used to help evacuate Port Richey residents in flooded areas and many components were damaged irreparably by saltwater corrosion, Latchford said.

Five of the seven cars are marked with a new logo _ a snazzy blue splash with the word "POLICE" in large, red and black letters. Two unmarked cars are used by the chief and the sergeant.

The work was done by Chasco Tint & Trim, a Port Richey auto detailing company. The cost was about $400 per car, Latchford said. Each vehicle cost about $12,000, said deputy city clerk Virginia Turnbough.

Latchford said he looked through some law enforcement magazines to get ideas for the logo design. The material is reflective so that "the whole side actually lights up," he said. "(People) will know it's a police car when they see it."

The new cars have been on the road about two weeks and seem to be popular with the public.

"Everybody loves them," said Patrol Officer Chris Hicks, citing the more modern look. "I haven't had anybody yet say that they didn't like them."

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