Churches help police get new bikes

Patrol gets officers closer to the people they serve
Aug. 30, 2013, Chillicothe Gazette  (Ohio)

CHILLICOTHE — Two decades after its debut, the Chillicothe Police Department’s patrol has new wheels, thanks to four churches.

The offering to the department came after Officer Micah Shanks asked for a little help as Sgt. Ron Meyers worked on revamping the bike patrol. The bike patrol is made up of officers who express an interest in being in the unit, as well as six auxiliary officers.

“(Bike patrol) allows you to meet more people in the public. It’s a change of pace,” Shanks said of his interest in joining about two years ago.

Although staffing has been reduced at the police department, Meyers said he is still able to get the patrol out doing directed patrols.

“When manpower allows, I’m allowed to flex their time and have a little for overtime,” he said.

Officers on bike patrol rarely respond to calls and instead are directed to patrol high-crime areas and Yoctangee Park.

Meyers also plans to send the bike patrol to the shopping centers in an effort to deter thefts.

Although Shanks has enjoyed his time with the bike patrol, the old rode bikes rough and were a bit uncomfortable.

“They’re wonderful,” Shanks said about the new bikes. “The old ones, I’m 6-4 and the older ones were built for a guy who was 5-10.”

Open Door, Church of Deliverance, Church Triumphant and First Wesleyan donated funds to buy the four new bikes — two 24-inch and two 26-inch.

Jon Welch, pastor at First Wesleyan, said they were honored to be asked to lend a hand.

“I think for the most part the city and the church desire the same things for the community,” Welch said.

Open Door pastor Mark Pfeifer agreed, mentioning Mayor Jack Everson’s Chillicothe CityHope initiative geared toward the churches pooling volunteer resources to address needs in the community. The initiative is something Pfeifer said has helped churches feel more a part of the fabric of the community.

“I’ve been here 22 years and there was more church involvement in the overall community. This is only one more piece of the puzzle,” Pfeifer said.

Rivers Bend Bicycle Shop also helped out with the bikes, giving them a discount on the $1,100 bikes and helping with tune-ups and other needs, Meyers said.

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