The Wayne County Office of Sheriff has added a Specialized Tactical Rescue Vehicle to its fleet thanks to the “Brinks Supports First Responders Donation” program, Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES and two local businesses.
The vehicle, a 1997 International, will be used by the Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team to transport team members to critical incidents, evacuate victims, bystanders and injured police officers, and bring in tactical medical personnel when necessary.
“It gives us an appropriate vehicle that is armored and can help us if the need ever arises,” Wayne County Sheriff Barry Virts said. “We hope that we never have to use it, but we have it if the need ever arises.”
The process to obtain the vehicle began after Lieutenant Matt Ryndock attended a tactical conference in September 2017 and submitted a letter from Sheriff Virts expressing interest in obtaining a surplus vehicle from Brinks U.S.
The department was placed on a waiting list for close to three years before receiving a donated vehicle. The truck was picked up in June 2020 from Brinks U.S. near Albany and brought to the Wayne County Highway Central Garage where mechanics made a few minor repairs.
The Sheriff’s Office, which has a strong relationship with W-FL BOCES and Wayne Technical and Career Center in place through School Resource Officer Deputy Brian Steinruck, reached out to see if they could form a partnership.
Students in the auto body classes taught by Jeremy Tiffany and Devin Tuison fixed and repaired dents, painted the vehicle, prepped the emergency lighting for installation and installed benches. Welding instructor Jason Johnston’s students removed the safe and lockers from inside the vehicle and built and installed handrails and foot platforms. Carpentry instructor Peter Kelley’s classes modified the benches.
“This is a culmination of all of everyone’s talents,” said Caleb, a senior auto body student from Wayne Central. “Everyone
had some sort of hand in this project.”
The hands-on learning was a true benefit, Kelley said.
“I think that it’s great any time that the students are doing live work as opposed to doing demo work,” he said. “Any time you get to work on a project like this, it’s pretty sweet.”
Once W-FL BOCES students completed their work, the truck was taken to NYSPEL in Newark where owner Rocco Salerno and his staff donated 40 hours of labor to outfit the light bar, additional emergency lighting, speakers and the communications system. The light bar and additional emergency lighting contain several different settings that can be modified to fit different situations.
Shawn DiSanto, owner of Custom Sign Express, developed decals to represent different situations where the vehicle may be deployed.
After the project was completed, the Sheriff’s Office hosted a pizza party to thank the students and give them a final look at the vehicle before it was driven to Lyons and put into service.
“Seeing it in the end was probably the most rewarding thing,” said Kiera, a junior carpentry student from Wayne Central.
“Without the students, this may never have occurred,” Sheriff Virts said. “They have done a wonderful job in restoring the truck to become a transportation rescue vehicle. It’s very exciting for me to see the finished product and I am sure it is for them as well.”
There was also satisfaction in completing the job. “If we don’t satisfy the customer and do it right, then we’ve done something wrong,” Caleb ended.