In less than two years, a volunteer group has helped the Southern Regional Police Department install a new flag pole, purchase a copy machine, resurface the station's parking lot and replace the emergency lights on a cruiser.

And now, the group is in hot pursuit of a big ticket item - a 2013 Ford Police Interceptor, a specially-equipped law enforcement vehicle hand-picked by Chief John Fiorill.

The Friends of the Southern Regional Police Department have already raised more than $24,000 toward the purchase through a series of fundraising initiatives. The total cost of the vehicle is $32,000.

FOSRPD members say having a four-wheel drive vehicle will come in handy during bad weather conditions.

"When you live in a rural community like this, it's a must," said Pequea Township Supervisor Harry Lehman during a recent meeting at department headquarters.

"We have an aging population, and they get stuck," added Cynthia Evans-Herr, president of the organization.

Fiorill said the department budgets $12,000 every year for the purchase of a new car, which they buy every other year. But this year, that money is needed to balance the budget, Fiorill said.

"In today's police budget, it's either new cars or less patrol time," he said.

The department currently has two other four-wheel drive vehicles - a Dodge Durango and a Chevy Blazer. The department can not afford to lose any of its current vehicles to a trade-in, Fiorill said.

"This (new four-wheel drive vehicle) will take the fleet up to where it should be," Fiorill stated.

The FOSRPD is supported by individual donors, churches, civic organizations and residents of the two townships the department serves - Pequea and Conestoga. The group's mission is to promote the department and provide opportunities to offset expenses to the department and, ultimately, taxpayers.

It's a joint effort, Evans-Herr explained. Pequea Township funded construction of the station's jail cell, while Conestoga Township Volunteer Fire Company leases the building to the police for $1 a year.

Aside from door-to-door fund drives, a fundraising committee has conducted very successful chicken pot pie sales.

Lehman and Evans-Herr say time is of the essence, as the car has been ordered and the New Holland Auto Group hopes to receive the vehicle by early March.

Lehman is optimistic the FOSRPD can deliver on their promise to the department - a pledge of $30,000.

"I am overwhelmed by the generosity of the people that I've contacted in Pequea and Conestoga townships," Lehman said.

Tax-deductible donations can be made payable to the FOSRPD, 3284 Main St., Conestoga, 17516.