Northern Vance delivers for city police department

Nov. 08, 2013 @ 11:08 PM

Henderson police earlier this year turned to a Northern Vance High School engineering class for decal design options on marking five new cruisers.

The chief designer, Jonathan Byron, a junior at Northern Vance, was alongside Friday night as officer Michael Wilder drove the car out at halftime of the game between the Vikings and J.F. Webb. Wilder is a 2010 graduate of Northern.

Capt. Marcus Barrow, the interim police chief, said the need for new decal design work came because of model-year changes to the Dodge Charger that the department uses for its fleet. The new surface textures along the sides of the car are out of alignment with the department’s previous decal styles.

“We knew we would need the new design, we would have to change it,” Barrow said. “The new model year’s door-area indentation, or scallop design, takes the new decal design that they came up with really well. We were highly impressed with what they did.”

Barrow said he approached Vance County Schools Superintendent Ronald Gregory in June for input on whether talented students could be found to do the design work, and Gregory immediately recommended contacting Jeff Arthurs, the engineering teacher at Northern Vance.

“We gave them some guidelines, but nothing highly restrictive,” Barrow said. “They kept our traditional colors of gold and blue, put ‘police’ on the front, which is new for us, and our website is on the back.”

Also on the rear bumper, a small decal indicating the design work done by Northern Vance, by order of Barrow.

Byron said he heard about the project the first day of class, so he raised a hand to volunteer. The class engineering software was capable to producing a three-dimensional virtual model of the 2014 model year Dodge Charger for the work.

“It interested me, so I asked,” Byron said. “We met with the police chief and we started working on the project. I’d say the hardest part of the project was doing the actual model of the car. Once that was done, it was fun to play around with different design ideas.”

Byron received help from Stanton Parham, a senior who Arthurs said is a past student of his class and well on his way to becoming an excellent engineer.

“He helped with some ideas and participated when he could,” Arthurs said. “To see this go so quickly from concept to design to seeing it on the car is really exciting.”

Byron said when it came time to present the seven or eight design options, the chief chose an 11th-hour entry that got worked up that day.

“He chose actually a design that I did earlier that morning, so it was good I had some time for doing that,” Byron said.

Arthurs confirmed that Byron did receive a class credit grade of A for excellent on the work he did. He added that the grade falls short of appropriate recognition for helping the reputation of the class that in recent years has worked on about half a dozen such projects.

“He did a fantastic job, he really excelled,” Arthurs said. “An A does not even suffice. I have always looked for real world projects for my students to be involved with in the community.”

Arthurs said he’s game for new project proposals.

“Anybody out there who has something they need to do,” he said.

According to Barrow, the purchase, equipping and marking of five new cruisers is funded by asset forfeiture money, “at no cost, fortunately, to the taxpayer.”

The decal marking work is being done by bid winner Bobbitt Signs at a price of $500 per car.

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.