Rye PD vehicle restoration
Rye PD vehicle restoration
Helping the community
Special project supports Rye Police Department
On a bright, sunny spring afternoon, students in Paul Casagrande’s Auto Body & Detailing/Collision class were outside inspecting an older model Chevy Tahoe.
Very little of the vehicle was not inspected by the students, who were opening doors, looking under its hood and checking to ensure the turn signals worked, all while marking down everything they noticed about the vehicle’s condition.
“We were looking for rust, dents, mostly cosmetic stuff for now until we get deeper,” SWBOCES student Steve Davella said.
“I think it’s a great project for us to learn how to bring back an old truck like this,” Osvaldo Corona, a senior at New Rochelle High School, said.
The close inspection was just the first step in a special project students are undertaking to transform the vehicle from an ex-military one to part of the fleet for the City of Rye Police Department.
The collaborative project sprang from a chance encounter when Center for Careers Services Principal James Matera attended a joint training program sponsored by SWBOCES and met Lt. Scott Craig.
“He thought it would be a great opportunity to kind of join forces and get the task completed,” Lt. Craig said of the principal.
Mr. Matera embraced the community aspect of the project. Not only will students in the program learn valuable skills, he said, but they will also be working to support a community endeavor.
“We have a very good relationship with the Greenburgh Police. Some students, in general, shy away from the police,” Mr. Matera said. “Developing better relationships with them is a side goal.”
Rye obtained the vehicle through the Law Enforcement Support Office, or LESO 1033 program, which enables law enforcement agencies to acquire surplus military vehicles to add to their fleet.
Lt. Craig said, the vehicle, once complete, will be become part of his department’s fleet for use by its auxiliary police force.
“We figured if we got it painted to match the rest of our fleet it would be something our auxiliary could use alongside us,” he said.
“We provided the school with some photographs of what some of our current fleet looks like,” Lt. Craig continued. “It’s the typical looking patrol fleet. We were hoping, after speaking to their instructor, to paint this vehicle black and white so it matches the rest of our vehicles. At that point we’ll stripe it and decal it to match the rest or our fleet.”
“It seems like a really well structured program,” Lt. Craig said during his first visit to the autobody shop on campus when the vehicle was delivered. “My father was in the auto mechanics business for 50 years, and just walking into this shop I’m very impressed with the tools, the equipment, the paint booth. It’s a pretty top-notch operation for a learning program.”
The inspection undertaken by students is something that is done for all projects the students work on, Mr Casagrande said. Once all the lists are compared and students determine exactly what needs to be done they will develop a list of materials they need. The work will begin and is likely to take several months, likely continuing into next school year.
In addition to students learning and perfecting their skills through such a project, Mr. Casagrande is excited that a broad range of students will assist with the work.
“All of our students are able to work together, they all have a part of it, every student, every level — first-year students, second-year students and iCTE that rotate from every program,” he said.
This is not the first community-related project students have done. Others have included renovating an antique fire truck for the Harrison Fire Department and a tractor for the Greenburgh Parks Department. They have also worked on a tug for the Westchester County police helicopter.
“They all work together learning a project that is going to benefit the community,” Mr. Casagrande said.
“From the delivery, they are really taking the lead on this,” Mr. Matera said of the students.