Seven decal-covered Jeep Wranglers making their way around the city are more than patrol vehicles for high schools – they are symbols of a new initiative.
The Evansville Police Department and the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office have teamed up with local public and private high schools for Choose Not to Lose, which aims to encourage good decision-making and to reinforce good behavior.
Larry Bennett, owner of Bennett Motors in Evansville and Audubon Chrysler Center in Henderson, Ky., donated eight vibrantly colored Jeep Wranglers for the program in April. Seven of the donated vehicles went to the police department and sheriff department and are now used by school resource officers representing Harrison, North, Bosse, Central, F.J. Reitz, Mater Dei, and Reitz Memorial high schools.
Bennett says he and Evansville Police Chief Billy Bolin think the Jeep Wranglers are good incentives for the students.
“If you took one kid who was going in the wrong direction and could turn him around, that is a big deal,” Bennett says.
An eighth Jeep is being used as an incentive for excellent behavior and will be given away in May to an eligible high school student who maintains a 2.0 GPA throughout the year and doesn’t get in trouble.
Schools will be given a certain number of keys based on the size of the school. In May, the eligible student whose key opens and starts the car will be the winner of the brand new Jeep Wrangler.
“Wrong has always had consequences,” Evansville Police Sgt. Jason Cullum says. “There is never really anything big that says, if you make good choices, there is a reward.”
For more information on the Choose Not to Lose campaign, visit evansvillegov.org.