In this town, people will pay to ride in a patrol car with the police.
It wasn’t an unfortunate set of circumstances that landed three children in the back seat of a Trenton police cruiser with flashing lights and a small convoy of other officers following close behind.
In fact, the Sabat family consider themselves lucky winners.
Thanks to an online fundraiser coordinated by St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Trenton, one of the items up for auction was a police race.
The winner received a school escort at the auction which raised over $540 for the ride alone.
The auction took place on February 5 and on May 6, Abigail, Andrew and Eli Sabat, aged 10, 5 and 4 respectively, were picked up and escorted to school with a host of classmates.
Mike Mihalik is the co-chair of the special events committee with his wife, Michelle, and he explained that while Abigail and Andrew are students at the school, Eli isn’t.
“It would have been heartbreaking not to include it,” Mihalik said. “The agents were super helpful. Their whole platoon showed up there. There were about four police cars involved.
The children were all smiles as they pulled up to school with officer Christina Villarreal in the lead.
Trenton Police Chief Mike Oakley said when the department was approached with the idea, there was no hesitation.
“We got on board,” Oakley said. “That was cute. They got the royal treatment.
According to Oakley, he spoke with a commanding officer and they came up with a plan.
“It was a team effort,” Oakley said. “Even the officers driving were pretty excited.”
Only one police car was initially to be involved.
The purpose of the fundraiser was to raise funds to set up tables and chairs in the school cafeteria and purchase science equipment.
The auction took place at the same time as a quiz night.
Over $12,000 was raised for the cause.
“We didn’t know what to expect since it was our first time fundraising,” Mihalik said. “There were four-person teams out of a total of 36 teams that participated in the Trivia night. Our goal is to do a live auction and keep it separate from Trivia Night.
Mihalik said he was grateful to the police for their participation, saying he thought it was important to develop this relationship with the school.
As far as Oakley is concerned, their involvement served two important purposes.
“It gave us the opportunity to help St. Joseph raise funds, and it gave us one more chance to give back to the community that treats us so well,” Oakley said. “It’s nice to be able to do something fun.”