By J.W. Oliver
Great Salt Bay Community School fourth-graders pose with Damariscotta Police Chief Ron Young, right, Patrol Officer Mike Elwell, and the department’s new cruiser. The class helped design the lettering for the new car. (J.W. Oliver photo)
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The Damariscotta Police Department’s new cruiser has a fresh style that sets it apart from past department vehicles, thanks to the fourth-graders at Great Salt Bay Community School in Damariscotta.
The class designed the lettering for the vehicle in three or four sessions during the school year under the guidance of Damariscotta Police Chief Ron Young and art teacher Karen Hight.
“They picked the color scheme,” Young said. “They picked where everything was going to go on it.” The chief had to reject some early drafts, including a few designs with flames and slogans like “you hook ’em, we book ’em,” he said.
The final design on the car features the school mascot, a cougar, on the rear passenger’s side of the vehicle, along with the words “Great Salt Bay Community School Class of 2018.”
“It’s bragging rights for the kids,” Young said. “It’s ‘Hey, that’s my class. That’s when I’m graduating.'”
Young brought the idea from Lincolnville, where he was police chief from 2008 to 2013. The work is fun for students, but also gives Young an opportunity to spend time with local kids and talk about things like good citizenship.
He wants the students to realize they have “the power to say no” to peer pressure, and he encourages them to report crimes or suspicious activity. “I think it empowers them to be involved with us,” Young said.
The project might also inspire some future law enforcement officers. “We’re always looking for the next kid that will eventually grow up and do our job for us,” Young said.
Banana Banners, of Bowdoinham, transferred the kids’ design from the drawing board to the cruiser. The bill for the vinyl lettering was $743, about half what a traditional paint job would cost, Young said.
The fourth-grade class at Great Salt Bay Community School chose the color scheme and lettering for the Damariscotta Police Department’s new cruiser. (J.W. Oliver photo)
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