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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.