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Published: Wednesday, 4/29/2009

Genoa police plan bicycle patrol

BY JULIE M. McKINNON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
From left: Councilman Darryl Bittner, police Chief Randy Hill, and Sgt. Todd Mocniak display the gear to be used by the patrol. From left: Councilman Darryl Bittner, police Chief Randy Hill, and Sgt. Todd Mocniak display the gear to be used by the patrol.
JETTA FRASER Enlarge

To help increase visibility of Genoa police officers - and save on gasoline costs - the village's department is starting a bicycle patrol program this summer.

Police Chief Randy Hill said he hopes to launch the community outreach program for the Genoa Homecoming on May 29-30 and eventually have all five officers go through training.

"It's another way to get the officers out there and one-on-one with the public," Chief Hill said.

Genoa has purchased the program's bicycle and equipment, which cost about $600 through Bike Route in Toledo, and an effort is under way to raise about $1,300 for uniforms and training. Uniforms cost $453 an officer, and training costs up to $250 per officer.

First Federal Bank in Genoa has donated $100 to get the fundraiser started, and it has a display with the police bicycle and other items in the atrium for residents to view. The bank routinely does community events, such as a fund-raiser this month for the Humane Society of Ottawa County, said Jennifer Kreager, branch manager.

Having a bicycle will help police officers patrol in the quarry, said Ms. Kreager, who also is a Genoa Council member.

"It will really help with that, and we want to do what we can to make sure our community is safe," she said.

Potential fund-raising events include sending flyers to businesses to ask for donations, holding a community bake sale, and collecting money at the bank, Ms. Kreager said. The bank will have a thermometer board to keep track of how much money is raised and other signs about the fundraising, and police have set up a table with information about drug abuse, safety issues, and other materials for parents.

Chief Hill said he hopes to have at least one officer trained next month at a 40-hour International Police Mountain Bike Association session in Sylvania.

The bicycle patrol will be ideal for Genoa Homecoming, a two-day event that features a parade with the Ohio State University spring marching band on May 29, Chief Hill said. Other planned activities include a 5K run, car show, art show, farmers' market, and square dance.

"It will help our officers be able to go through the crowd and the alleys," Chief Hill said.



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