By John Coffelt
Coffee County Central High School’s auto body class recently showcased their skills and civic pride by redoing the paint job on a Manchester Police Department patrol car.
“This is a chance for the community to see what we do…that the kids are learning a trade that hopefully can someday support themselves or at least save them some money,” said Rodney Brinkley, CHS Auto Body Instructor.
Chief of Police Mark Yother approached Brinkley to see if the class would be interested in working on several of the city’s vehicles that have damaged paint on the hood, roof and deck lid.
“The paint on half the top of the car was just gone,” Yother said. “It was kind of embarrassing to be driving around town in.”
The class worked up an estimate, like a body shop would – sans labor, and then got to work on the car.
“I told the students that it would be a good opportunity to do something for the community,” Brinkley said.
“It changes their attitudes a little bit. A lot of them don’t have a good attitude toward the police.”
He said that once the students began working on the cars, they began to see that the two could work together.
To fix the paint, Brinkley’s students sanded through the peeling pain and primer to the metal that was starting to rust.
They sanded that smooth, featheredging the spot to ensure a seamless repair. The area was primed and painted.
Yother said that the car looks outstanding.
“It has saved us a lot of money on painting them.
“The officers are happier to drive it.”
Yother is excited about the mutual benefit of the project.
“It gives the kids the opportunity to learn a few things. It worked out good for everybody.”
He said that the department has several other cars for the class to repair.The first car was in the worse condition.
The class usually practices on system employees’ or students’ vehicles.