by Mike Donahey, Times-republican, FEB 26, 2017
T-R PHOTO By MIKE DONAHEY Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA Group Bicycling Instructor Rob Cooper, left, is joined by Marshalltown Police Officer A.J. Accola during the “Sweat with the Police” event in Studio 1 at the Y Saturday morning.
Marshalltown IA -- Old Man Winter reminded Central Iowans who was in charge Saturday morning, with wind chills barely above zero melded with fresh coat of snow and ice.
While many struggled with gloves, hats and parkas, three Marshalltown police officers and a group of concerned Central Iowans were fittingly, sweating up a storm in Studio 1 of the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA during “Sweat with the Police.”
Their mission: Help the MPD raise money to purchase new trail bikes for use by the department’s bicycle patrol.
With Y Group Bicycling Instructor Rob Cooper shouting directions over fast-paced music, the group pedaled hard on stationary bicycles for a solid two hours.
“Some of our patrol bikes are more than 20 years old,” said Officer A.J. Accola, explaining the need and helping coordinate the event. “I was riding an older model recently and one of the gears did not work. Consequently, we are at the point of needing to replace several due to high mileage. Some were purchased in the mid-1990s.”
Cost of a new bike meeting MPD specifications is $1,500.
On Saturday, Accola and two colleagues were in full bike patrol uniform, and took 40-minute shifts riding up front next to Cooper.
The event was open to the public, and looking on were Y staff and Marshalltown Hy-Vee Dietician Jennifer Scales, who was busy handing out free samples of a new protein drink endorsed by actor and fitness enthusiast Mark Wahlberg, snacks and cold water.
“The need for new bikes is important, and we are glad to help out,” said Scales. Joining Hy-Vee as cosponsors were Black Tire Bicycle Co. and the Y.
Accola said he and other bike patrol colleagues were anxious to get out once warmer temperatures become the norm.
“I enjoy the bicycle patrol,” said Accola. “We are more visible to the public, and it is much easier to interact with residents versus being in a patrol car.”
Not only is reliable equipment necessary, but all bike patrol officers must go through rigorous bike patrol training at the state’s Law Enforcement Training Academy in Des Moines.
Look for bicycle patrol officers around town, on the Linn Creek Recreational Trail, and during the Oktemberfest event.