SOUTHINGTON - Mike Volpe, owner of Volpe and Sons, has for the past two years been offering use of a property he owns adjacent to his business for police, firemen and SWAT teams to train to earn their certifications.
Volpe has owned the full-service auto repair and 24-hour towing company at 806 Main St. in Plantsville for 35 years, and over that time he said he has built up a good relationship with emergency responders.
“I service police and narcotics vehicles, K9 vehicles, state postal jeeps and the vehicles of the Southington Police Department,” he said. “My brother and I tow from accidents and we respond to fatal crashes as well, doing the mechanical part of the work. We are one of the biggest companies in the area to service government vehicles. There are 50 to 60 state troopers in town and I service many of their personal vehicles as well.”
Two years ago, Volpe purchased a two story home next to his business. He ultimately plans to demolish the building next year and put up a new building to house his tow trucks. However, in the interim, he has offered its use for training.
“The Fire Department uses it to teach people how to climb ladders,” he said. “The state and local police hide drugs in the house and have their K9 units train to sniff for them. They also use the home for missing persons training. SWAT teams throw smoke bombs inside and then, after it gets all foggy, then six or eight guys go in with laser sights. We can hear the explosion going off from our office. We have also had Meriden police coming to us to do their training and certification.”
In addition to allowing free use of the home, Volpe says he allows emergency responders use of abandoned vehicles.
“We keep certain wrecked and abandoned vehicles that can be used to train the drug sniffing jobs or to simulate a rollover crash,” he said.
Volpe says he supports these training exercises as a way to give back to the community. His family-owned business has been going strong since it started in 1983, he said.
“There is an issue right now where there isn’t enough parking, but this is a good area,” he said. “People come here from Dunkin Donuts and the trail all the time. There are not a lot of family-owned and operated garages in the area and a lot of people would rather go to that type of business than a chain. People like that we listen to our customers and that we are honest with them.”
For more information, call Volpe and Sons at 860-628-0067 or visit volpeandsonsauto.com.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.