This ‘win-win’ project is the result of a lot of talent, expertise, creativity and effort on the part of several students and instructors at Rolla Technical Institute (RTI) who transformed a badly damaged 2010 Crown Victoria police car into a completely refurbished, newly painted and designed VIPS (Volunteer in Police Service) police vehicle that will complement the VIPS fleet and existing road operations.
Every school day, VIPS personnel regularly patrol a 2-3 block radius around each school, helping to ensure student safety. In addition, VIPS volunteers monitor traffic speed around the schools, assist the crossing guards, manage summer school traffic, participate in safety presentations and functions at the schools, and generally assist the School Resource Officer when needed.
According to VIPS Director Vince Giacolone, who worked closely with Captain Smith and Dr. Zalis on identifying a vehicle that would be appropriate for a VIPS vehicle, the damaged car was purchased by the district from St. James Auto Salvage in February 2011 and moved to the RTI body shop for repairs. RTI Collision Repair Instructor Mike Hoffstetter, and RTI Graphic Design Instructor Angi Yowell both liked the idea of providing their students with ‘real word’ collision repair and graphic design experience. Once the design was selected, final body work was completed on the vehicle, and the graphic design package was given to Sign Dimensions of Rolla for the exterior wrap to be applied. After several attempts at color matching were made the new VIPS car was accepted by RTI and RPD on Aug. 18. Emergency lights, siren and radios are being installed at the present time.
“Budget challenges and the need for additional resources sometimes result in some of the best outcomes when organizations such as Rolla Public Schools and the Rolla Police Department work together,” said Police Chief Mark Kearse. “The Rolla Police Department and the City are very appreciative of Dr. Zalis, Mike Hoffstetter, RTI Collision Repair Instructor, Angi Yowell, RTI Graphic Design Instructor, and the dedicated students at Rolla Technical Institute for all their generosity, efforts, hard work, and creativity.”
The RPS District plans on rolling out and showcasing the new VIPS car at a “Cruise-In” on Thursday, Sept. 8 at 6 p.m. at Rolla Technical Institute where other show cars and motorcycles will be displayed. In addition, the new VIPS car will be introduced to the Rolla City Council and on display outside of City Hall at the regular City Council meeting on Monday, Sept. 19 at 6:30 p.m.
(Pictured left: Students enrolled in the Collision Repair course at Rolla Technical Institute refurbish a badly damaged 2010 Crown Victoria that will be used as a new VIPS (Volunteers in Police Service) car with the Rolla Police Department.)