LIVINGSTON, TX (KTRE) - Livingston police are turning heads with their newest vehicle.
"Cooper" as they call it is a 2014 Mini Cooper. The car was once used by a sex offender to attempt a child hook up in Livingston.
According to a press release, on Monday May 23 at approximately 10:30 p.m., officers from the Livingston Police Department responded to a residence near Liberty Avenue in reference to a minor female child who had been contacted through social media and propositioned to meet an alleged 23-year-old man. The unidentified man offered money and a shopping spree to the female child in return for sex.
On May 24, 2016 Detectives with the Livingston Police Department began investigating the incident and upon further investigation, the man had identified himself to the female child as Alex. Detectives assisted the female child, with cooperation of her parents, with setting up a time and location to be picked up by the male subject. At approximately 1 p.m.. the male subject arrived at the pre-set location and was confronted by the Livingston Police Department.
The suspect fled the scene in his vehicle but was stopped after a vehicle pursuit.
The subject was then positively identified as Quoc Kien Lam.
Further investigation identified Lam has previously been convicted of sexual assault of a child and is a registered sex offender in Harris County. Lam was charged with prostitution solicitation person under 14 years of age, online solicitation of minor and evading arrest with vehicle.
According to Lt. Matt Parish, the department was able to seize the vehicle through a civil hearing and then had to determine what to do next.
"We decided not to send it to auction," Parish said. "Because of it's size and what it is, it catches attention. It's not your traditional police car. We thought it would be attractive to the younger generation here in Livingston."
The car is being used for public appearances that police go to in town. You will not see the car out on major calls.
"There is a lot more room in it than you would actually think in the front, but in the back seats and the rear there is not a whole lot," Parish said. "It does have lights, but I don't think we will be doing that right now."
However, it is more than showing off and trying to be stylish. Parish said for at least one local family the car can now be a symbol of good where it once was close to being a horrific nightmare.
"That was the whole intent, to use it back in the community and to take it from the bad guys and use it for the good," Parish said.
On Friday, the car was at the annual BBQ fundraiser for fallen Livingston PD Officer Caran Coward. Coward was killed in an apparent murder-suicide by her husband in April 2008. The Department set up a scholarship to raise funds for Livingston students looking to go into a criminal justice career and for children of law enforcement.
The officers raised $5,946 and sold out of the sandwiches.
"It is hard to describe," Parish said. "It was a tremendous impact on the department. It would be for any department no matter what the size. Obviously, we are a small agency, but like I said, any agency of any size, a fallen officer is a tremendous impact. It's horrible."