The Manchester Police Department DARE car was awarded a high honor at a recent conference for the anti-drug and violence initiative.
Officers took home the second place award for best in show at the state conference held in Atlantic City in late February, said Lt. Robert Dolan in a statement.
"This event was a culmination of the hard work and effort put forward by the DARE Officers of the Manchester Township Police," Dolan said.
The decoration of the car — a 2002 Nissan Altima which was part of a drug seizure made by police — was spearheaded by Patrolmen Shawn Cavalcante and Marc Micciulla, Dolan said.
The officers worked to create a design that reflected the mascots of the township's three elementary schools — Ridgeway, Whiting and Manchester Township, Dolan said.
Painted on the hood of the car above the character representatives of the schools is the slogan "teaming up against drugs and voilence."
"The original design transformed the vehicle into an eye catching and award winning vehicle," Dolan said.
Cavalcante and Micciulla, along with fellow DARE officer Sgt. Charles Brooks, were able to secure sponsorships from local businesses including Under Cover Upholstery in Manchester, Holiday Service Center, Blue Line Emergency Lighting and Air Graphix in Toms River, and Sound Waves in Brick, Dolan said. Funds from the DARE clothing recycling program also helped to pay for the project.
The DARE car will travel to township schools and community events, Dolan said, in an effort to encourage Manchester's youth to "resist drugs, alcohol, tobacco and violence."