Two police sergeants from Oxnard, CA have developed an ingenious way to motivate troubled teens–steering them to the drag strip instead of letting them ride with local gangs.
The DRAGG Mustang has show, go, and a clear message: If you build a fun, positive atmosphere that the youth want to become involved with, you can proactively fight crime.
What Exactly is DRAGG?
D.R.A.G.G., or Drag Racing Against Gangs and Graffiti provides at-risk kids in the Oxnard, California area with a alternative outlet to crime–designing, building and maintaining race-worthy Mustangs and other other vehicles during after-school hours. Those students who trade in the can of spray paint for a wrench have the unique opportunity to enter the automotive industry by developing the skills needed to succeed at their next job. DRAGG draws in candidates through sanctioned after-school programs at Oxnard area high schools and funneling in troubled teens from the local area, as well as the community’s Graffiti Removal Program.
[The] goals of this program [is] to help as many kids as we can, have as many classes as we can while guiding these kids in the right direction [by] getting them to make the right choices and, above all, have … fun
– Sergeant Daniel Shrubb, DRAGG Co-founder
Aside from the hands-on training that comes when tinkering with the DRAGG Mustang and other cars and trucks, the program also facilitates field trips to raceways, learning institutions like the Peterson Auto Museum and lets the students watch their hard work zip down a drag strip or auto course come race day.
Students of the program also have the chance to work one-on-one with teachers, ask questions and voice concern in an environment that offers more personal attention that a typical automotive classroom would allow. On a mission to support the community by getting kids involved with the right crowds, DRAGG uses their 500rwhp Mustang as a tool to draw new students into the program.
The DRAGG Mustang
The DRAGG Mustang is a 2006 Mustang GT, fully decked out with a Vortech supercharger, black Foose “Legend” wheels, custom tuning, suspension work and additional go-fast parts, including all the necessary supporting mods. And of course, you can’t miss the full police squad makeup job, overly intimidating push bar included. As seen in the video below from this years SEMA auto show, this Mustang certainly knows how to exercise its 500HP, 4.6L modular motor. It goes without saying, this is one police car you don’t want to go toe-to-toe with.
The Men Behind The Program
Sergeants Charles Woodruff and Daniel Shrubb started their non-profit program DRAGG over 5 years ago by soliciting their idea to various companies and local businesses. Both had previous experience in anti-gang policing units and had seen far too many young kids falling for the criminal lifestyle. It was time to do something about it.
After mustering up the funds to purchase their Mustang, the duo focused on building up an entire youth-help initiative from scratch–and further kudos goes to them for doing it without taking a dime of taxpayer money. Companies like Vortech, Borla, and Brembo helped make their vision a reality by donating the parts needed to authenticate the race worthiness of their Mustang GT while the Sergeants recruited local kids who found themselves in trouble for precursory crimes like graffiti and general mischief.
Since the DRAGG program’s humble beginnings, the sergeants and the community have seen first-hand the good this program is capable of. Through direct involvement with troubled and at-risk youth, teachers take on a mentoring role and help students discover their talent and abilities; two influential factors that have helped transform their outlook and future aspirations from the lifestyle that got them into trouble and into a more positive atmosphere, one that offers the potential for higher education and a steady job.
A Success Story
While many students have benefited immensely from the DRAGG program, one particular story embodies all that the program was created to accomplish. A local high school student who had been picked up by the Oxnard police department for graffiti entered into the DRAGG automotive program. two years later–now a high school graduate and enrolled in college–he finished as the top student in the DRAGG program, rewarded with a scholarship and a job offer from a local shop.
The push for higher education and exposure to key networks within the automotive industry provided an invaluable resource to not only this student, but many others who dropped the spray paint for a chance to work around the DRAGG Mustang and the team that helps build and maintain it. Now, the DRAGG team has shifted their focus from their 2006 Mustang GT to a 2013 Ford Focus ST, the newest toy in the DRAGG garage and a 2013 SEMA show favorite.