Bike Cops for Kids gets some new wheels

The Police Department’s Bike Cops for Kids program expanded its tactics for connecting with children in the community by using another kind of wheels: a renovated food truck with a freezer full of ice cream sandwiches inside and a basketball hoop and flat-screen TV attached outside.

The truck was designed to look as child-friendly as possible, painted with bright colors including a silly face on the front. Brackets outside the truck allow the officers to prop up a child’s bike and fix a chain or loose seat. The officers stock the inside with giveaways: free helmets, water bottles and the occasional free bicycle.

Police officers Mike Kirchen and Dave O’Connor, co-creators of the Bike Cops for Kids program, debuted the new donated truck last week at Lucy Craft Laney Community School. Expect to see them rolling around town in their new ride this year, meeting kids and building better relations between police officers and children.

The Bike Cops for Kids program targets children who don’t have activities in the summertime. The officers give them free goodies and share safety information, working to build trust and show them that police officers are regular people just like them. Kirchen and O’Connor plan to use the new truck to also cruise around in neighborhoods after crimes occur and connect with children who may be feeling afraid.

Officer Kirchen works with private-sector partners to fund the freebies the officers give children. He bought the program’s new truck with a $50,000 donation from Minneapolis attorney Mike Ciresi and Dean and Tyler Phillips with the Phillips Family Foundation. Ciresi and the Phillipses also regularly donate tickets to Twins games for the officers to give to children in need. The four donated tickets cost more than $2,000 a game with the seats located in the Champions Club section right behind home plate.

The Bike Cops for Kids program was created in 2009 to continue the work and relationships school resource officers built with children during the school year and extend those efforts into the summertime. Kirchen worked then as a school resource officer at Lucy Craft Laney Community School.

Watch the Police Department’s video on the new Bike Cops for Kids truck.

You can also follow Officers Kirchen and O’Connor and their community policing work this summer. Like the Bike Cops for Kids page on Facebook.

By the numbers

Since 2009, the Bike Cops for Kids program has given away:

Published May 17, 2016

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