ABC 40, Springfield MA
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — When it comes to fighting crime, officers say it’s hard to beat a bike patrol, especially in cities like Springfield or Westfield.
“You can get places faster, you still have the benefit of stealth — you’re quiet, you can kind of patrol in stealth if you have to — or you can turn all of your lights on and be very visible if you need to,” says Westfield Police Sgt. Eric Hall.
But those bikes are covering a lot of ground, which means a lot of wear and tear. Unfortunately, new equipment doesn’t always fit into the yearly budget.
“The bikes that we’re using, some of them are 10, 12, 15 years old and we just put them together with shoestring and bubblegum to keep them going,” says Springfield Police Sgt. John Delaney.
Hearing the need, Competitive Edge Ski and Bike Shop in East Longmeadow decided to step in. Competitive Edge co-owner Gary Kennedy explains why he decided to donate bikes.
“Just hearing that budgets were cut and slashed, and what was there was no longer there, and the bikes that were there were in disrepair or were not rideable,” he says.
Today, Kennedy presented the bikes — worth about $1,000 each — to Springfield and Westfield police. He says they’re designed to meet the demands of the job.
“Heavier-duty rear-racks and kickstands in the back where all the load would be for all of their supplies,” explains Kennedy. “A lock-out in the shock, so it works both off-road and in the city.”
“This helps tremendously with being able to recycle one of the bikes that we have already and put that to the back of the fleet, if needed,” says Hall. “It really needs to be retired at this point, so it’s a great thing to be able to replace the bike this way.”
The bikes were donated in honor of fallen officers Kevin Ambrose of Springfield and Jose Torres of Westfield. The officers names and badge numbers are displayed across the tactical bikes.