San Mateo Co. unveils child safety van

December 11, 2008 3:45:00 PM PST
Children from drug homes in San Mateo County have a new layer of protection. The Sheriff's Office unveiled a vehicle designed to ensure the kids' safety during drug raids.

The van is equipped with toys, stuffed animals and coloring books. They also have a big screen TV to watch cartoons or other movies.

The idea is to create a safe place for children to protect them from what is going on outside. Officials put the van on display on Thursday morning so that the public can test it out.

There are a lot of smiles around the $87,000 toy, and the kids seem to approve it.

There have been 46 kids at 19 drugs busts in San Mateo County this year. Authorities are barging into the houses and they find the kids, and they never had a good place to put them until now.

"So as soon as we identify the children, we remove them from the home, we bring them right to the van and we have agents specially trained that will keep the kids occupied. Child Protective Services will respond out with us and we'll evaluate what the situation with the children is and make the determining factor of what resources we need for the kids. It is just to remove them from the craziness that is going on inside the house," said Sergeant Leo Capovilla from San Mateo County Sheriff's Department.

The van is packed with fun. An $87,000 federal grant paid for the vehicle, so San Mateo County taxpayers did not spend any money on it.

A lieutenant told ABC7 News that at the time when they applied for this the economy was doing a lot better and now with the tough times it seems a little extravagant, but at the time they decided not to put the money toward salaries because they wanted to put the money towards something that would be an investment and that would outlast the officers and help generations of kids.


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