Cruiser gets face lift for canine cop

Published 9:26 am Saturday, February 19, 2011

Franklin Police Officer Adam Cornwell stands with the department’s new tracking dog, Red, and Paul D. Camp Community College welding instructor Doug Wiggins. Wiggins oversaw a project to transform the back of a police cruiser into an area for hauling the dog. -- SUBMITTED


FRANKLIN—Adam Cornwell’s patrol vehicle has gone to the dogs.

With help from Doug Wiggins, welding instructor at Paul D. Camp Community College, and his students from Southampton and Franklin high schools, Cornwell’s cruiser was transformed for his new partner, Red. The bloodhound was donated to the Franklin City Police Department from the Newport News City Police Department.

PDCCC’s effort saved the police department $1,500 to $2,000, according to Lt. Timothy Whitt.

The college also donated some of the metal for creating an area to transport the dog. In return, the police department bought a piece of expanded metal to cover the back glass, and donated the unused portion to the welding department.

“Projects like these give the students valuable hands-on experience,” Wiggins said.

The back seat was already gone, leaving Wiggins to design an area that would give the tracking dog the comfort and accessibility to do his job effectively.

“This is the first time I’ve ever handled a project like this before,” said Wiggins. “I’d wake up at 2 in the morning, thinking about what I was going to do with it. I wanted it to look good.”

“Mike Forrest offered me a lot of support,” Wiggins added.

Forrest is an associate professor of electricity/electrical at the college.

Cornwell said that while a canine insert is usually purchased as one whole unit, Wiggins had to piece the project together, building a platform as well.

“He did a magnificent job,” said Cornwell.

The project took about a six weeks to complete, with Wiggins working on it a few hours at a time.