While lining up vehicles for Schlossmann’s Subaru City’s annual car show about three years ago, Steven Claflin contacted some colleagues in Itasca, Ill. and asked if the city’s police department would bring up its Subaru STI for the event.
The high-performance vehicle-turned-squad car was an instant hit.
“It drew a big crowd,” Claflin said. “It gave some kids goose bumps. There was more of a crowd around that car than any other car in our parking lot. It created a good buzz.”
After the car show, Claflin wanted to bring that buzz to the area on a more permanent basis. This summer, thanks to Claflin’s legwork and owner Mike Schlossmann’s generosity, the now has its own STI in the fold.
Schlossmann’s Subaru agreed to donate the car, which was unveiled at the city’s Fourth of July parade, through a two-year courtesy lease. Police Chief Brad Wentlandt believes Greenfield is now one of only three police departments in the country that has an STI in its fleet, joining a department in California and Itasca.
“It’s just another way to connect with the public,” Wentlandt said. “People think it’s pretty cool. Anything that helps begin dialogue between the police officers and the public is a good thing.”
With its custom wrap – the STI is actually metallic silver – and soon-to-be-added racing stripe, the donated vehicle is a car the Greenfield Police Department will display at events like block parties and National Night Out.
But don’t be fooled into thinking the car is just for show.
“It’s their car for their use however they deem appropriate,” said Claflin, who was a Greenfield police officer from 2000-02.
The Subaru STI is a fully functional squad car with a police radio, sirens and all the standard safety features of a Subaru. Oh yeah, and it’s pretty fast, too. The 2012 four-door, all-wheel drive vehicle is equipped with 305 horsepower and turbo.
“It’s one of the fastest cars out there that the general public can buy,” Wentlandt said. “It’s not in the realm of a super car like a Lamborghini or Ferrari, but among very high-performance vehicles, the Subaru STI is right up there. Not that we’re out there drag-racing anybody.”
In addition to paying for the two-year courtesy lease, Schlossmann’s Subaru paid for the customized wrap and installation of the lights, radio and siren, all of which were also donated. The total value of the donation is estimated at $50,000, with zero cost to the department.
“I was talking with Capt. (Jay) Johnson who said there were some negative comments on Facebook about wasting taxpayers dollars,” Claflin said. “It didn’t cost them a penny.”
“We don’t have a dime in the car,” Wentlandt said. “It’s 100-percent donated. The only thing we’ve put into the car is gas.”
In addition to adding what is essentially a free car to the fleet, Wentlandt is excited about what the car can do for community relations between the department and the citizens it protects.
“Our DARE truck, it’s not anything you can drive (on patrol),” Wentlandt said. “It’s a show car; it connects real well with muscle car enthusiasts. This car, just in the limited time it’s been out there, it seems to connect with everybody of all ages.”
Which is what Claflin has hoped for from the start.
“On the weekends, Highway 100 can be a mess with kids racing and problems with kids congregating,” he said. “Now, I’m hoping if you pull into Omega (now Goody’s), you’ll see kids out talking to the police, because this is the kind of car they dream about and want.”