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Roanoke City Police unveiling new police car on World Autism Day

The GTO cadet program helps adults with unique learning challenges build self-esteem and hone job skills. (Photo: Roanoke City Police) (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - The Roanoke City Police Department is unveiling a new police car on 'World Autism Day*, Saturday, April 2nd.

The puzzle piece logo is based on the Autism ribbon logo. Also on the car is a GTO logo and the words "Growth Through Opportunity". The GTO cadet program helps adults with unique learning challenges build self-esteem and hone job skills. The police department created the program in 2014 and its third class will start next month.

"I hope it brings awareness. A lot of times people are apprehensive about things that they don't know about and by seeing this car hopefully people will become more knowledgeable about the growth through opportunity program at the police department but more importantly they become aware about autism, down syndrome and all the other issues that affect individuals and become more accepting," said Monti Lee, the Roanoke City Police Deputy Chief.  "This car right here is not about the Roanoke Police Department. This is about our community and awareness."

The cruiser will be part in the annual "Light It Up Blue" event on Saturday at the Entranceway Park Fountain, at the corner of Wells Avenue and Williamson Road near the Hotel Roanoke, at 6:30 pm.  Look for the cruiser to start patrolling next week.