Police ‘pedal’ bike safety

By Savannah Downing, The Hays Daily News
Original article HERE

Community members got a chance to interact with local law enforcement officers Saturday at the north McDonald’s location in Hays.

Two separate come-and-go events aimed to build relationships between the officers and public in informal and relaxed environments.

While community members were welcome to enjoy a free cup of coffee inside while conversing with officers during the Coffee with a Cop event, outside the children could bring their bikes to participate in a bike safety course.

There were excited children with their bikes ready to get started when the event kicked off.

“We can check their bikes and talk to them about safety,” said Brian Dawson, assistant chief of police. “It’s also about some driving skills. At one spot, they mount and dismount, and they work on control and balance. And it’s really about having fun and meeting the officers.”

Carla Thomas attended with her family. Her son, Landon, 4, just got his first bike for his birthday in April.

“I think it’s great to have the officers here,” Thomas said. “He was kind of timid around policemen before, and now he keeps saying how nice and fun they are.”

Several bike officers rode with and instructed the kids through the obstacle course — commenting it reminded them somewhat of the week-long training they had to go through on the bicycles.

According to Dawson, there are approximately eight bike officers with the Hays Police Department.

Some children who didn’t bring their bicycles got the opportunity to run through the course with the officers.

“It’s fun for them to go through the course with the officers,” said Deana Rupp, marketing director for the McDonald’s location.

“The kids did better than the officers on some parts of it,” she said with a laugh. “Most of the kids have been on training wheels, so they have the advantage.”

McDonald’s also provided a pamphlet on bike safety to each participant, as well as refreshments and some give-aways.