As part of the three-town school security initiative established last year, Mantua has unveiled a new police ambulance to increase police presence at its own schools as well as those in Wenonah and Harrison townships.
“We took an old ambulance vehicle, and we got it wrapped and repurposed,” said Deputy Mayor Pete Scirrotto, who came up with the idea. “We wanted the word ‘police’ to be more prevalent in order to increase awareness. We repurposed an out-of-service ambulance to say, ‘Don’t mess with us.’
“It’s basically like having a police car at a bank,” he added. “You wouldn’t rob a bank with a police car in front of it.”
The word “police” adorns a large portion of the ambulance, with “School Resource Officer” listed below. The seals of Mantua, Wenonah and Harrison also appear on the vehicle and the repurposing work was done by Car Effex automotive customization shop in Mantua.
Though it’s called an ambulance, the vehicle does not make trips to hospitals, but it does have supplies police officers can use in the event of an emergency.
The ambulance will alternate parking at elementary schools in Mantua (Sewell, Centre City and J. Mason Tomlin), Wenonah (Wenonah Elementary) and Harrison (Harrison Township and Pleasant Valley). Scirrotto also wants it to be around Clearview Regional middle and high schools, which serve Mantua and Harrison students.
“I think it’s been a pretty positive (reaction) so far,” Scirrotto noted. “Law enforcement is a bit on the fence about it, but they’ll come around. Another one is in the works right now. The county is working on getting another decommissioned ambulance vehicle for us to use in the future.”
The three-town safety initiative began last year in response to the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. Town leaders Scirrotto, then mayor of Mantua; Wenonah Mayor John Dominy; and Harrison Mayor Louis Manzo regularly met to discuss how to better protect their schools while sharing close ties with one another.
“We’re here to help our schools and keep students safe,” Scirrotto pointed out. “Because that is what’s most important.”