ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s been almost two years in the making. After hundreds of hours of work and a lot of community involvement, the Albuquerque Police Department finally got to show off their brand new lowrider cruiser this morning. Saturday morning at Balloon Fiesta Park, two groups of people who haven’t always seen eye to eye were united over a common love for Albuquerque and its rich car culture.
“This is not the norm,” said Robert Cardenas the owner of Showoff Automotive LLC, and big contributor to the lowrider project. “Lowriding and copping are two different worlds two different stories,” he said.
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“My brother grew me up around lowriders,” said Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina. “He has a ’64 Ragtop, which he still won’t sell me,” Chief Medina said at Saturday morning’s press conference.
Rob Vanderslice and Robert Cardenas never expected to be working with police on anything, much less a lowrider. Both of them have a past with drugs, but they say they’ve been clean for years and both spent hundreds of hours working on the APD Lowrider.
APD and city leadership say the car is an attempt to bridge a longstanding gap between the lowrider community and the police department. “The lowrider scene was stereotyped as drug doers and gangbangers,” said Vanderslice, but he says he thinks the new car he helped paint, will help end that stigma.
“This is such a blessing to see,” said Vanderslice. “It truly is bridging the gap between the lowrider community and Albuquerque in general, and the police.”
The inside of the lowrider is decorated with art made by local kids. The mural on the hood of the car was designed by Kaylyn Flores, who earned a $5,000 scholarship for her design.