Spiffy police cars
CHRIS PARKER/TIMES NEWS Mike Rehatchek polishes a Lansford police cruiser on Sunday morning.
It's early Sunday morning, but instead of sleeping in or relaxing over a second cup of coffee, Mike Rehatchek is hard at work, cleaning and polishing a Lansford police cruiser.
Not only is he making the car shine, he's spiffing up the borough's sense of pride, too.
A clean cruiser reflects well on the community.
"When people see a clean vehicle, that represents our town. And driving a shiny car makes your spirits better. This makes the police officers feel better, too," he says.
Efforts to reach Police Chief John Turcmanovich for comment were unsuccessful.
Rehatchek started doing the volunteer work in July, with borough council's approval.
"I figured it would be something nice to do for the community, to help out because the community doesn't have much money," he says. "So, I offered my time and materials to do the police cars every Sunday, weather permitting."
Rehatchek's father owned a body shop, so he got his automotive experience early on. Now, he works at Kovatch KME, detailing vehicles. He gets to use state-of-the-art finishing products, and so he knows which are the best.
"I'm constantly updated with products that are coming in. I'm a supervisor in the detailing department and the buffing department," he says. "So I know all the latest technology."
He starts by washing the cruisers. Then, he uses a degreaser to clean off bugs and stubborn spots.
"I use a special cleaner for the wheels, and then I use a high-quality wax on it, and tire shine," he says. He dresses all the plastic and moldings, and applies polish.
It takes him at least three hours to detail one cruiser.
"At work, we have police vehicles coming through," he says. "And I'm thinking, they are nice and shiny. I'd like to see ours shiny. That's my expertise, so I'm going to donate it to the town. That frees them up to patrol instead of cleaning the cars."
Borough council President Rose Mary Cannon appreciates Rehatchek's work.
"It's really kind of him to volunteer his time," she says. "In this day and age you don't find many people who are willing to do that."
Councilman Tommy Vadyak is also grateful.
"When Mike told me he wanted to detail the police vehicles I was elated. For him and his bride to give up a Sunday morning to detail our police vehicles ... and they pay for everything, no charge at all to the taxpayers," he says. " I don't know of any other community getting their vehicles done for free. Talk about community spirit. I cannot thank them enough."