CORAL GABLES, FLA. (WSVN) - Coral Gables Police have revealed their latest marked vehicle, and this one has a special purpose: to spread autism awareness.
7News cameras captured the moment that the SUV cruiser was unveiled on Thursday, the first day of Autism Awareness Month.
Coral Gables Police Chief Edward Hudak said he hopes the vehicle has a large impact in the community.
“This car is a just reminder to everybody that drives through, lives in, and comes in and has a good time in Coral Gables that everybody is well served by us and by our troops,” he said.
For Coral Gables Officer Andrew George, raising awareness about those on the autism spectrum is personal. His brother Austin was diagnosed with autism at age 2.
“Ever since my brother was little, I’ve always been protective of him,” said George. “He means the world to me, and I’ve always been protective and caring for, not only my brother, but other kids in need.”
“He’s a very special child, not because he’s my son, but he’s a great person, and he really cares about the community,” said George’s father.
The police department wanted to ensure the design accurately represented those on the autism spectrum, so they consulted with Crystal Academy, an autism therapy center and school in Coral Gables, to come up with the design that ended up on the SUV.
As that design rolls down the streets of Coral Gables, it will be George behind the wheel, sending a clear message to everyone, including his brother and others like him.
“It means the world to me, as well as my family, that I get to use a great tool to spread awareness and education throughout the City of Coral Gables,” he said.
“To see him with his car and spread that education, that inclusion to a community, is certanly an honor,” said a family member.
George hopes others receive that message and follow his lead.
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