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The City Journals

Midvale student designs new look for the police D.A.R.E vehicle

Sep 05, 2019 03:08PM ● By Sarah Morton Taggart

Remington Metzger (left) and his friends Davin Sharp and Brandon Metcalf get ready to ride the police truck decorated with Remington’s design at the Midvale Harvest Days parade. (Sarah Morton Taggart/City Journals)

By Sarah Morton Taggart | [email protected]

Eleven-year-old Remington “Remi” Metzger had only been to one other parade before, the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Salt Lake City. At his next parade, he got to be part of the show.

Remi designed the winning entry in a competition sponsored by the Midvale Precinct of the Unified Police Department to help its new patrol vehicle stand out. Remi then got to bring some friends and throw candy from the truck bed during the Midvale Harvest Days Parade that took place Aug. 3. 

After the parade, the truck was displayed at the Harvest Days celebration at Midvale City Park and is now used as Officer Ryan Jonkman’s full-time patrol vehicle.

Earlier this year, the Midvale Precinct purchased the Ford Ranger pickup truck and Jonkman took the opportunity to run a design contest for his D.A.R.E students to participate in. Twelve designs came in from Midvalley, East Midvale, Copperview and Alta View Elementary in White City. 

Jonkman and the principals from each school reviewed all the submissions and came to a unanimous decision. “(Remi’s design) was just awesome,” Jonkman said. “When everyone saw it, there was no question.”

Police Chief Randy Thomas took the design to the Midvale City Council for approval and a few tweaks were made, with Remi’s permission.

“The changes made it look better,” Remi said. “They added a police badge and the lion body.” His original design had featured the face of Darren the D.A.R.E lion, along with an American flag and a flame pattern.

“I really liked the look of the American flag, and I also like flames on cars so I wanted to try and mix the two,” Remi said. “I also found pictures of other D.A.R.E vehicles and some had the D.A.R.E lion on there, so I thought that should be there, too.”

D.A.R.E., which stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education, is a national program of classroom lessons led by local police officers. Jonkman works specifically with fifth graders in Midvale to give them skills they can use to avoid involvement in drugs, gangs and violence.

Midvale is actually the second city in the valley to have a kid-designed D.A.R.E. vehicle. “We had done this before with the Herriman Police Department,” said Michael Franz, owner of Interstate Image. “(Herriman) came to us in 2018 and that caught everyone’s eye.”

The design and graphics company donated its services, worth $1,500 to $2,000, to both precincts. “We donate every D.A.R.E. wrap for anyone who asks,” Franz said. “It’s good to give back. Police departments, they have their budgets pretty tight. (If we donate the service) they don’t have restrictions and can get exactly what the kids draw.” In this case, it meant reproducing Remi’s design of stars, stripes, and the D.A.R.E. mascot wrapping around the hood and both sides of the truck.

“Interstate Image not only printed and installed (Remi’s image), but their design team took the draft and made it awesome,” Jonkman said. The truck has also been outfitted with police lights on the roof and LEDs on the running board.

Remi, then a fifth-grader at Midvalley Elementary School, likes to learn about history and do science experiments at school. He also likes to run and even ran a 10K race down Emigration Canyon before he participated in the Harvest Days parade. 

What’s the coolest thing about the truck according to Remi? “I think (kids) might be inspired to learn about the D.A.R.E program.”