Panama City PD's newest fleet vehicle, this 2022 C8 Corvette, was recently used in a local Christmas parade.  -  Photo: Panama City Beach Police Department

Panama City PD's newest fleet vehicle, this 2022 C8 Corvette, was recently used in a local Christmas parade.

Photo: Panama City Beach Police Department

The Panama City, Florida, Police Department is making use of a 2022 C8 Corvette seized earlier this year. The department is using the vehicle for community enagement

"Seized for Service"

Additionally, Panama City Police Chief J. R. Talamantez said the vehicle is a "symbol of justice" in a press release. The vehicle was originally reportedly used for illicit activities. Officers located and secured the Corvette in April 2023, after its driver previously evaded to neighboring law enforcement agencies. 

Alexander Casey was apprehended and charged with felony transporting illegal narcotics and possessing firearms. He was also charged with fleeing and alluding by other agencies.

K-9 Officer Rogue detected the narcotics reportedly concealed in the vehicle, rendering it acceptable to be seizured under the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act.

The police department waited for the forfeiture proceedings to be completed before upfitting and wrapping the vehicle. It will be upfitted with lights and sirens.

K-9 Rogue was credited with discovering narcotics in the Corvette, leading to its seizure.  -  Photo: Panama City Beach Police Department

K-9 Rogue was credited with discovering narcotics in the Corvette, leading to its seizure.

Photo: Panama City Beach Police Department

It took a little while to get the vehicle wrapped with the new vehicle because of its unique shape, a spokesperson for the city told Government Fleet.

A decal on the driver's side door of the Corvette reads "Seized for Service," in addition to the Panama City Police Department graphics

"This phrase encapsulates our philosophy of converting tools of crime into instruments of positive community influence," Talamantez said.

A New Community Outreach Tool

The vehicle will now be featured in the agency's 'Cops and Kids' program, serving as a tool for both public relations and community outreach.

"We anticipate that the presence of this visually striking Corvette, alongside K-9 Officer Rogue, will significantly enhance our community events, fostering a sense of unity and awareness, especially among the youth," the press release said.

Using Seized Vehicles in Law Enforcement

A legal process known as asset forfeiture allows municipal, county, or state agencies to acquire vehicles seized during the commission of a crime and place them into the agency’s fleet as a weapon against the criminal networks that once used the vehicle to transport illicit drugs, cash, or firearms.

According to the 2023 Florida Statutes, the seizing agency must first perfect the rights to, interest in, and title to the property in accordance with the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act before it can be used. The legislation does not prohibit the use of or "operation necessary for reasonable maintenance of seized property."

Repurposing a seized vehicle is not new for law enforcement agencies. Government Fleet reported that the Escambia County Sheriff's Office added a seized 2017 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 to its fleet in June 2022.

In October 2022, a Dodge Challenger Hellcat SRT was given to the Texas Department of Public Safety after it was seized from a suspect evading law enforcement officers.

In 2015, a 2007 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 that was given to the New Braunfels, Texas, Police Department after the federal government awarded the vehicle to the agency in a bus of a large drug distribution ring in the area.

About the author
Christy Grimes

Christy Grimes

Senior Editor

Christy Grimes is a Senior Editor at Bobit, working on Automotive Fleet and Government Fleet publications. She has also written for School Bus Fleet.

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