April 13, 2018 10:41 PM
(ABC 6 News) - Rochester Police Officers with Community Action Team (CAT) are starting a new program to help kids all over the city ride a safe and well-assembled bike this summer.
"We want to get out into the community and engage with the kids a little bit more," Officer James Marsolek said.
The Rochester Police Department is starting a Cops and Kids community bike program this summer, where patrol officers on CAT will carry around toolkits and station themselves at community events to help kids fix mechanical problems with their bikes.
"We reached out to the community and we got some money and some funds, we going to be purchasing a trailer and some tools," Marsolek said.
[Cops and Kids: Rochester Police Start Program to Repair Kids' Bikes] Officers expanded the idea after hearing how a member of their team did this on a smaller scale.
"I saw some kids playing with a flat basketball," Officer Doug Remling said. "I brought my pump over and I pumped their basketball up, and a little kid saw I had a pump, and he brought his bicycle over, and a kid that had his chain off came over, and it kind of expanded from there."
Remling said after that, he continued fixing up bikes in neighborhood garages using donated spare parts.
"I became a name," Remling said. "I became Officer Doug, instead of just another badge number or a guy driving by in a police car, so it was a great way to get in touch with the community and get to know them."
He said this act of kindness will be especially helpful to families that can't afford certain repairs.
"There's nobody to fix it, there's no money to fix it, so for us to come in and take care of something like that, it means a lot," Remling said.
And most importantly, officers want to connect with kids, to show them officers are watching out for them.
"We want to get out there and just get involved," Marsolek said.
"I think it's going to be a successful program," Remling said.
Officers hope to get the trailer together and running by first week of June, but they currently carry those portable tool kits with them now.