The third annual Bike with a Cop sponsored by the Whitestown Metropolitan Police Dept. is in full swing. The first ride was in mid-June. Organized by the Bike Patrol, the program creates an opportunity for officers to interact and build relationships with community youth.
“It allows local kids to interact with officers, learn about bike safety, ask questions and have fun,” said Scott Klinger, a patrol sergeant and paramedic with WMPD.
Klinger developed Bike with a Cop after former WMPD Chief Dennis Anderson presented the idea and asked him to create the program.
“We hold a ride in every neighborhood or group close neighborhoods together so there is an event close and convenient for everyone,” Klinger said. “The rides last about 30 minutes but officers stay afterwards to hand out gift cards and allow the kids and parents to see through police cars and ask questions.”
The rides can accommodate an unlimited number of cyclists.
“We have police cars in the larger groups to escort the group safely down the street,” Klinger said. “We have up to five officers there to interact with the community but typically (have) two or three officers on bicycles.”
Anyone in the community is encouraged to participate.
“We always struggle to get riders but (are) hoping for larger numbers as the four neighborhoods going around the trail begin to fill up,” Klinger said. “And have kids come up to us when we are patrolling in neighborhoods that remember us from the rides. We have a handful of children that will attend multiple rides throughout the summer. We like to think it’s because they enjoy interacting with the officers, but it also could be for the free goodies from our sponsors, Fundaes Ice Cream and Chick Fil A.”
During the bike safety presentation, Klinger said a lot of kids and parents are surprised by Indiana bike laws.
“For instance, white and red lights while riding on the roadway at night,” he said. “We are looking into ways to fund projects to make bike lights available to the kids that attend for future events.”
The next rides are slated for July 30, Aug. 13, Aug. 27 and Sept. 10. Participants must wear a helmet to participate.
Follow WMPD on Facebook for updates and ride locations, meeting locations and start times.