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Win-win situation: Fontana students paint cop cars

November 28, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
The relationship between students and school police is improving at Fontana High School. That's because students are using their painting skills to improve the look of officers' patrol cars. The program is saving the school district money.

As one student sands the hood of a car, another is preparing another car for painting. But here at this after-school body shop class at Fontana High, this isn't just any old car: it's a patrol car from the Fontana Unified School District's own police department.

"We were approached with the idea, and we thought it was a good partnership, so we pursued it," said Fontana School District Police Chief William Megenney.

Megenney says many of the cars in his fleet really need some extra attention. So with students agreeing to paint them, the district can save money and the kids can learn a trade at the same time.

"This is definitely one of the better examples of a win-win situation," said Megenney.

Still, class instructor Marty Van Kooten says painting cop cars didn't always seem like a good idea.

"At first, cop cars, you know, 'We don't want to deal with cop cars because we don't want to deal with cops,'" said Van Kooten.

Student Mike Arevalo says not only is it bringing students and the police department closer, it's an after-school program that's also keeping kids out of trouble.

"It's better to be doing this than you know, getting in trouble doing something for another reason," said Arevalo.

It's estimated that it could cost between $1,500 and $2,000 to completely paint each patrol car, but all of the paint has been donated by U Sav-Mor out of San Bernardino, and then all of the labor is absolutely free.

Good for students, good for police and good for taxpayers as well.

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