An anonymous donor has provided an early Christmas present to the Mount Airy Police Department: a new off-road vehicle that will allow officers access to such areas as remote sections of city greenways.
“It’s a tremendous asset to the agency,” a beaming Police Chief Dale Watson said Wednesday afternoon, just after the shiny Kubota RTV 1100 arrived at the police station upon being outfitted with special equipment and departmental logos.
“It just allows us to do more,” Watson said of the rough-terrain vehicle with a total price tag in the $20,000 range.
The RTV will have its official public debut Saturday morning during the Mount Airy Christmas Parade.
A local man who has been insistent that his identity remain a secret decided to give the off-road vehicle to city police after learning about the efforts of a group called Friends of the Mount Airy Police Department. It was formed last year by local citizens who saw a need for specialized equipment in the department which can’t be provided through normal channels because of budgetary constraints.
Acquiring an RTV had been announced as the group’s top goal for fundraising efforts.
“Their act of kindness will serve this community for many years to come,” Watson said of the anonymous donor. “Without their generosity, this would never be possible.”
After learning in October that an RTV was needed, the anonymous donor who eventually supplied it contacted Mount Airy Equipment Co., where he is a longtime customer, and made the necessary arrangements. His identity is known only by personnel at the business.
Melanie Jones, the chief organizer of Friends of the Mount Airy Police Department who is the group’s secretary, said Mount Airy Equipment also aided the cause. “They gave us an incredible deal,” Jones said.
“It’s very exciting — very generous,” she said of the department gaining the RTV in the manner it did.
Friends of the Mount Airy Police Department, which has generated around $14,000 in its first year through various fundraisers, supplied about $4,000 for upgrades to the RTV related to its law enforcement use.
In addition to being a four-wheel-drive vehicle, it will be equipped with a Stokes basket, which is used in rescue operations, along with a winch and accessories to effect the transport of an accident or other victim. Standard equipment includes a siren and flashing lights — giving the RTV the basic appearance of a mini-police car despite its four-wheeler elements.
It was delivered late Wednesday afternoon from Pine State Marketing, which also had a role in the project. “They did the wrapping of it,” the police chief said of items such as logos.
With Mount Airy’s greenway presence at more than four miles and growing, the RTV will allow access to hard-to-reach areas of the pathways for emergencies as well as regular patrols. Watson said it also can be helpful during special events such as festivals when streets are closed to normal vehicular travel.
Wednesday afternoon’s delivery attracted a small crowd of municipal and police officials.
“This is so nice,” City Manager Barbara Jones said while admiring the addition to the fleet which will be housed in a storage area at the police station.
Jones added that she was impressed by the gift of the anonymous donor and the collective efforts of the police support group.
Earlier, the new group provided a special tactical vest to the department which will be used as protection in narcotics and other operations where violence could erupt.
“I think it’s awesome — it’s just fantastic,” the city manager said.
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or firstname.lastname@example.org.