CLAY COUNTY, Fla. — A new voluntary program in Clay County would give deputies permission to pull you over, even if you didn’t break the law.
The Clay County Sheriff’s Office launched the Combat Auto Theft, or (CAT), program this week to help reduce auto thefts and recover stolen vehicles in a more timely manner.
A bright yellow decal with a pawprint placed on the lower left of the rear window of your car allows law enforcement to stop your vehicle without cause if it’s seen on the streets between 1 and 5 a.m.
Andrew Ford, the Public Information Officer for CCSO, said deputies would then check to make sure the driver is the registered owner or is authorized to have the vehicle in their possession.
“While we’re on patrol, if we see that decal, we’re stopping that vehicle automatically,” Ford said.
Ford said it’s a brief encounter and doesn’t tie up deputies from handling other calls.
Kayla Vicary knows the frustration of having your car stolen.
“I lived in Erie, Pennsylvania up north and had a car stolen up there,” she said. “Just woke up in the morning and went to go take my son to school and my car was not there.”
She believes the program could help deter criminals.
“I hope that if they see the sticker that would make them think twice,” Vicary said.
The sheriff’s office wants you to know that by signing the application form, you could be subject to other violations if you’re pulled over.
“We’ll stop the vehicle without cause, but if there’s any other criminal violations that we observe when we walk up to that car, so DUI, driving while intoxicated, or we smell marijuana, or believe there may be narcotics in the car, then you’re subject to those violations,” Ford said.
The Sheriff’s Office said the program also provides security for those who may have dementia and become confused during the early-morning hours and begin to travel in their vehicle.
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