April Fool’s Day: Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office posts plans to fight crime using self-driving smart cars

New River Valley News

(Photos: Courtesy Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office)

PULASKI COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — As part of their annual tradition for April 1, the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office declared a peculiar policy change on Facebook Thursday, this time involving the use of self-driving, electric smart cars to test the effectiveness of kinder, gentler policing.

You can read the full post from the sheriff’s office on Thursday, April 1 below:

“Starting today, Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office will be fielding a new cutting edge tool that will help keep our community safe. Thanks to a grant from the Department of Energy and Urban Community Engineering Sources, we have purchased several electric powered self driving smart cars that will be utilized in our effort to provide the best services possible to our county. The models we have obtained will be used for many different purposes. One model will be used to pick up wanted criminals by going to their last known address and playing a pre recorded message over loudspeakers that will encourage all wanted persons inside the residence to come out. Then, all wanted persons on scene will be allowed to enter their information into a self service onboard kiosk access (SSOKA) to verify their warrants and then be taken to the regional jail in the smart car. The other model smart car we have purchased will be used for crimes such as excessive rascalism or mean mugging. This model will arrive on scene of an incident and allow all involved parties to enter their information along with their side of the story into the self service onboard kiosk access (SSOKA). The Artificial Intelligence used in the SSOKA is based off of a decision making data program, Guilt Beyond Determination, that was pioneered by George J. Etson. It will then make a determination as to who the guilty party is, and at that time, the guilty party will be directed to get inside the smart car and be taken to jail.

The only downside to this program we have noticed is that during inclement weather, the smart cars appear to drive themselves to the nearest safe space and enter a sleep mode. Until this glitch is resolved, all criminal activity is requested to either be scheduled during a time when a deputy is available, or during weather that is agreeable with the smart cars.

Another feature of this futuristic crime fighting program is the preferred seating option. This option allows those being arrested to ride shotgun and play their choice of music from a vast previously downloaded selection. This option is only available to either first time offenders or those that promise to change their ways. A simple promise to end any future nefarious intent is completely acceptable as long as the individual swears on a loved one’s grave since that makes it true.

If during an incident the involved parties are polite and cooperative, the smart car can be remotely directed to take the scenic route on the way to the jail and stop at the nearest restaurant that has a working ice cream and shake machine. Once there, everyone will be provided with a single use voucher. Other than that, all applicable costs and taxes will be the responsibility of the individual. This is a pilot program that is in place to determine the effectiveness of kinder and gentler policing, and will run through April 31st of 2022. If you or someone you know has been the happy recipient of our services, please be sure to rate us 5 stars on the Virginia League of Sheriff Deputies review page.”

This post has already been shared more than 300 times and received more than 200 comments on Facebook at the time of this writing.

While Pulaski County authorities already have a reputation for making their Facebook posts entertaining — even the ones about shoplifters — they go all out on April Fool’s Day.

For example, in 2019, the sheriff’s office declared they would become the first law enforcement agency in the region to participate in the “G.O.A.T.S” (“Get Out And Try Smiling”) program, which originated in Kentucky.

“Since baby goats are super cute, it’s nearly impossible to be stressed or upset when one is around,” the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office posted on Facebook on April 1, 2019. “Starting immediately, each PCSO deputy will be issued a therapeutic goat to help them deal with high stress situations. These goats will stay right by the deputy’s side throughout their shift so that they will be constantly available should the need arise for anyone to be comforted.”

Then, in 2020, the sheriff’s office announced they would attract recruits by joining the “CAFFLET” (“Casual Fridays for Law Enforcement”) program that was pioneered in Texas.

According to the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office’s post from April 1, 2020, “As long as no deputy goes commando while wearing a kilt, they will be allowed to construct their own uniform each Friday. All we ask of our citizens is that if you see any of our deputies taking part in CAFFLET, please offer them a sincere compliment on their outfit of choice because deputies have feelings too.”

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