New traffic patrol cars to hit streets in time for Masters

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Some new patrol cars will be hitting the streets starting Tuesday night - just in time to beef up patrols for next week's Masters Tournament.

The three new Richmond County Sheriff's Office cars have a different look on the outside and require more training to drive.

"It's definitely going to be an extra tool and we're excited to have it," said Sgt. Danny Whitehead of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

The new cars will be on the streets as part of the Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic, or HEAT for short. The new initiative is part of the Governor's Office of Highway Safety, and the cars look different from what people are used to seeing in Richmond County.

"They're actually blue patrol vehicles," Whitehead said. "It's not going to be what people usually see, the black or gray or the all silver traffic."

Part of the requirements the three officers had to pass in order to drive a HEAT car include training in several specialized areas.

"The officers in those are actually trained for all of our traffic situations and are highly trained in the areas of DRE as far as drug recognition when it comes to impaired driving whether it be by drugs or alcohol," Whitehead said.

The new cars come just in time for one of the busiest weeks for Augusta - Masters week.

"Any extra resources we can get Masters week always helps," Whitehead said. "The reason being we have a lot more vehicles on the roadway so anytime we're dealing with more vehicles on the roadway we have more problems as far as crashes come."

And the goal of this program is to help keep drivers safe and the lower the number of fatal car crashes in the CSRA.

"We see it as an extra tool to help battle what we already do battle each day as far as trying to reduce crashes," Whitehead said.

For more information on the HEAT program visit the website.

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