At Cabrillo High School today, November 7, 2018, in Lompoc, School Resource Deputy Dennis Thomas and a group of Advanced Auto Shop students showed off the result of a two-month long creative project. They spent more than 80 hours transforming a golf cart that was donated to the school into a mode of transportation that Senior Deputy Thomas can use to patrol the campus and provide security to staff and students. The “Cop Cart” is even equipped with lights and sirens.
The project is special not only in that it provided an extra security resource on campus but it was also a bonding experience for Senior Deputy Thomas and the Auto Shop students. Senior Deputy Thomas said, “When law enforcement and students have the ability to work on a mutual project it is a success on all accounts.”
Senior Deputy Thomas is an 18-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office and became the new School Resource Deputy at Cabrillo High School and Maple High School this year. Prior to going into law enforcement, Sr. Deputy Thomas was a mechanic and now puts his former career to use by helping out in the Auto Shop class whenever possible. When a golf cart was donated to the school, it was the perfect opportunity to use his skills and new position to work with students on a project that would benefit the school.
Sr. Deputy Thomas said transforming the Cop Cart will likely go down as one of his most memorable experiences as a School Resource Deputy. He said, “This cart allows me to not only have transportation around campus but gives me a starting point to begin lines of communication with students who may not ever have wanted to talk to a cop. It was incredibly rewarding to do something positive and constructive with the students. I am very proud of them for taking on this challenge, following directions and seeing the project through to completion with enthusiasm. Cabrillo High Senior Tyler Burch said he enjoyed every second of working on this project. He said, “I love building things so this project was perfect for me. We had to tear it all the way down and build it back up.”
Cabrillo High School Principal Isidro Carrasco said he was pleased with the process and final product. He said, “Senior Deputy Thomas has done an outstanding job of using the Cop Cart project as a way to build relationships with our students. These positive relationships go a long way in helping to keep our campus safe. We want to work as a team to provide services to our students so that they can succeed on our campus.”
In addition to campus security, the Cop Cart will also be used in upcoming school parades and high school games.