By Douglas Counts, WJHL, March 10, 2017, 4:01 pm
JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL-TV) – There was a very special presentation on Friday at the head of the Tweetsie Trail aimed at keeping the trail safe.
The Tweetsie Trail Conservancy presented two bicycles to the Johnson City Police Department for use in patroling the trail and creating much more visibility along the trail for the department.
“We’re giving two police bikes to the police department to be used on the trail, and, as you know, the trail has even been extended toward downtown so you’ll see policemen riding on that say police bikes and this will certainly help the department as they patrol the trail.”, President of Tweetsie Trail Conservancy Dr. Daniel Scumaier said.
“Bike patrols do a wonderful thing for us, they give us another mode of transportation but they also put us out with people where we can talk to people, talk with them about problems in their neighborhoods and be visible in a different way, so it is a wonderful thing for us. These donated bikes are very much needed, they’re necessary, we’re pleased to have them. We’ll put them to good use.”, Police Chief Mark Sirois said.
The two bikes cost over $1,000 and bikes were built especially for police use. Bikes came with police logos, a rear platform to mount equipment as well as a flashing blue/red light and a helmet.
“What this does is this gives us more mobility on the trail, as everybody knows, the Tweetsie Trail is well used for both pedestrians, walkers, for runners and for bikers so this gives us the opportunity to get out on the trail, to meet people, to talk with people, to be visible and get to where we need to get on the trail,”, Sirois said, “The more visibility we can have, the more visible we can be in different areas of town, then that just serves as a deterrent so this helps make us more visible and helps make us mobile as well.”
Though there have been a few incidents on or around the trail, there have not been many times that police have been called out to a prolblem along the trail. And these bikes will give the police an even bigger presence on the trail.
“Wherever you have people, you are going to have some incidents so we’ve seen some out here but nothing to any great degree to cause us any great concern at this point,”, Sirois said, “The benefit here is it is an open trail, there are a lot of people, it’s usually well populated and people are out here for a good reason and that reason is to get healthy and enjoy the great outdoors and enjoy our city.”
Scumaier added, “We’ve been very, very fortunate in the fact that there has been very little crime or any problems going on on the trial. At first, there was some concern about that but that has not come to fruition, so we’ve had no trouble but it is still nice to have a police presence.”
These bikes not only aid in crime prevention along the trail, but can be very helpful in getting to someone along the trail that might be in distress for other reasons.
“It’s not just for criminal activity, it is in case someone would have a medical problem or they would have to get to someone on the trail in case of a medical problem, they can use the bicycles.”, Scumaier said.
The Tweetsie Trail Conservancy does take donations for upkeep of the trail as well as special projects like the donation of these bikes for the police department.
“That’s extremely beneficial for us, it doesn’t come out of our budget and it is a good public/private partnership. It gets the Tweetsie Trail Conservancy involved in the safety of the trail so that is going to benefit everybody.”, Sirois said.
“We’re using this to make the trail better and better all the time. As you know, this is one of, probably the best used facilities between Johnson City and Elizabethton. We’ve got people on this trial all the time, winter and summer.”, Scumaier added.
For more information about the Tweetsie Trail Conservancy, visit their website at http://tweetsietrailconservancy.com.
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