A 'smashing' success: Peel Regional Police officers and youth restore car for demolition derby

Posted On Friday November 18, 2022

On Sept. 17, 11 Division officers and youth from the Peel Regional Police Junior Mechanics program, proudly funded by ProAction Cops & Kids, took part in the Brampton Fall Fair Demolition Derby. Led by Detective Constable Tom Rodziewicz and a team of PRP officers, the program offers youth interested in mechanics as a hobby or a career goal an opportunity to receive instruction from positive, enthusiastic role models.

Students aged 15 to 17 worked side-by-side with civilian and uniformed PRP members to restore a car over nine weeks. Participants were actively involved in diagnosing and researching car parts, replacing car components and developing skills required to perform a mechanical restoration. The participants received hands-on training and access to tools and vehicles they would not otherwise have. 

The fully restored car entered in the Brampton Fall Fair Demolition Derby, piloted by Deputy Chief Marc Andrews. Not only did the team take the title of Best Dressed, wearing a jacket specifically made by our Quarter Masters crew, Deputy Andrews’ driving skills led them to a second place finish!

“Our ProAction committee and members from fleet are committed to creating safe spaces and innovative programming for marginalized, at-risk youth to develop and to connect with officers,” says Peel Regional Police Inspector Peter Danos. “The Junior Mechanics program is a real-life example of how police and youth can work together towards a common goal while developing incredible bonds. Car 74 was a fan favourite with the thousands of spectators attending the derby and won first place for design.”

Davontaye, a 15-year-old junior mechanic participant looking forward to competing again next year, says, “I loved it. It made me feel like there is a lot more to cars than what you see. They are similar to us as people - some of us look hard on the outside, but it’s how we push ourselves from the inside that gets us through each situation.” 

The personal connections Davontaye made through the ProAction collaboration will live beyond the program. “No matter how difficult things get, don’t give up on it. The way I think this program would impact youth is by teaching them that once you get to know them – police officers are just regular people out there with big hearts too. Thank you, ProAction cops, for one of the best opportunities of my life.” 

Davontaye’s mom could not say enough about the positive experience and impact the ProAction Cops & Kids program has had on her son. “Davontaye has had a passion for cars for years. He kept asking me if one day I could take him to the junkyard so he could get some scrap parts and allow him to use our garage to build his own car. Being that parent who grew up with very little and next to no parental encouragement, I told him yes because, to me, it meant my son has hopes, dreams and, most of all, a goal. I don't have much but I know I would give my last if I knew it would be for him to chase his dream.”

Noting the growth and transformation of her son throughout the Jr. Mechanics program, she says, “ProAction Cops & Kids has changed my son's view of police. He has worked with some amazing cops, especially Detective Tom. He came home the first day saying I want to be a cop. He forgot all about wanting to have his own mechanic shop and building his own cars. I saw my son transform from a teenager that doesn't get out much to a young man coming home from a hard day at work in the garage with so much joy for what he was out there doing with the team and what his dreams can be like if he follows through on them. Thank you to ProAction Peel Police, the mechanics and to all the amazing people that were involved in the organization of this program. You guys have truly touched the hearts of 5 young people, and I'm sure you will many more.” 

If you are looking for an opportunity and information on enrolling in the program, please visit the ProAction website.

Contact Us