The Alton, Texas police department is helping to build bridges between citizens of their border town and members of the department by donating a decommissioned 2008 Dodge Charger to a local lowrider club for modification.
The goal, according to Alton Police Chief Enrique Sotelo as quoted in the McAllen area paper, The Monitor, is to help end the stigma that lowrider enthusiasts are criminals, all while building important rapport between the community and the police.
We are living at a time when a lot of anti-police movements exist across the country. This is a really good opportunity for us to have a positive impact in our community and a great way to remove that stigma that lowriders are gangster vehicles.
The Charger is being donated to the United Cities Car Club for use in their philanthropic efforts, like their upcoming school supply drive for disadvantaged children in the McAllen, Texas area, of which Alton is part. Club President Alfredo Treviño has been dealing with the stereotypes the patrol car will be used to fight since he was a teenager.
Just because we rode these cars, people would think we were cholos or gang members. The cops would search our cars looking for drugs or weapons, but we always tried to stay out of trouble.
His club, with over a dozen members, is made up mostly of family men with steady employment. Vice president Jaun Lopez works for the Hidalgo County Coroner’s Office and, perhaps unsurprisingly, drives a modified white hearse to various car shows. He seems pretty standard for the club he helps to administrate.
When people see us riding our cars, they always assume that we are criminals, but it’s not like that. We have kids and we follow the law, and we actually get along with police.
Kudos to the members of the United Cities Car Club, and a great big thank you to the Alton Police Department for working with law abiding enthusiasts to help kick stereotypes to the curb. We could use a lot more outreach like this, because community policing means more community and, well, less policing.
Image via Shutterstock, modified by Kat Callahan/Jalopnik.