Catoosa County Sheriff Gary Sisk has plans to bring a little nostalgia to his office and the community in general by refurbishing one of the old Pontiac Trans Am patrol vehicles from the early 1980s.
On Tuesday night, Feb. 20, the Board of Commissioners unanimously approved Sisk's request to allocate approximately $8,900 in unclaimed confiscated funds toward the restoration project.
"The disposed property, this is property that is leftover from cases, or that people don't ever claim," Sisk said. "We go through a legal process and advertisements for anyone to make claim on these properties, and then they're either sold at auction, or in this particular case it's actually just cash money that hasn't been claimed."
In 2015, Sisk's office came into possession of a 1981 Trans Am that was formerly a Catoosa County Sheriff's Department patrol car in the early 1980s under then-sheriff J.D. Stewart.
"We've tried to take this on as a project to refurbish it. We've taken in some donations, and have had people volunteer their time," Sisk said. "We've also used Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School's shop where they've done some work on it. Unfortunately, it can't all be done under donations. We're still not done, and we're two years into the project. It could use a little boost."
Sisk says his office hasn't spent any tax dollars on the vehicle, and that the title belongs to the sheriff's office. The agency also didn't spend any money acquiring the vehicle, as it was given to his office after being found in a junkyard.
Sisk explained that when unclaimed funds or property are disposed of, they are turned over to county government.
"I'm coming to you to ask you, instead of turning that over to the government, can I use these funds that I've mentioned here to go toward helping refurbish this vehicle?" Sisk said.
The board approved allowing the funds to go to the project, and Sisk talked a little about his vision for the car.
"This vehicle will be used for parades, hopefully on display at the sheriff's office, maybe car shows... it's nostalgic. Any time I've ever mentioned it to anybody, especially anybody that remembers them, they just like, 'holy cow, can't wait to see it'," Sisk said.
Sisk even joked a little about how it's taken some work to get the project going.
"I'd love for them to see it someday if I'm still alive when we get it done," he said with a laugh.
Chairman Steven Henry jokingly recalled his memories of the cars also.
"The last time I saw one of them, it was behind me with its blue lights on," Henry said.