Danville police, humane society partner to raise awareness about hot car dangers

Electronic sign purchased to display temperature inside, outside a parked car

DANVILLE, Va. – It's a simple concept.

Two thermometers, one inside a police car and one outside, hooked up to an electronic sign that displays the temperature from each thermometer.

"It feels nice outside today compared to the weather we've had. It's not even a heat wave, but it's already showing 121 (degrees) inside this vehicle right here," Danville Police Department Lt. Richard Chivvis said.

Chivvis said the electronic sign is more interactive and will hopefully be more visible than the sign the department has put in a patrol car in the past to warn people about the danger of hot cars.

"Just trying to be proactive and creative. That's what the officers in our community engagement unit are really trying to do," Chivvis said. 

Chivvis said an officer recently attended a conference where the electronic signs were displayed, so the officer reached out to Paulette Dean at the Danville Area Humane Society and asked if the humane society would be willing to help purchase one.

"We get many calls about animals that have been left in hot cars, so we decided to donate the entire $2,000," Dean said.

The car and sign will be parked at various locations in the city and at community events.

"Once (people) see it, they will not have any excuse to leave an animal, an elderly person, a child, a handicap person in a car," Dean said.

The electronic sign unveiled Wednesday is a prototype.

The real one will come in September, making the police department the first organization of any kind in the country to have one.

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