Officers from the Laramie Police Department will be riding around Jubilee Days in style this year after receiving a donation of five new bikes and a couple of bike racks from the Laramie chapter of the Sunrise Rotary Club.
Chapter president, Gustave Anderson, presented two of the bikes to the the city during its regular meeting on Feb. 5. He said the Rotary Club voted to use money from its fall fundraisers to donate the bikes to the police department after learning LPD has needed new ones for “quite a while now.”
“At their request, we got five [bikes] and a couple of bike racks that will be coming, with the goal of providing them an opportunity to do what they do, because that aligns with what we do,” Anderson said at the City Council meeting. “At Rotary, our motto is service above self.”
Lt. Gwen Smith of LPD said the bikes will help law enforcement phase out some older, dated equipment.
“The bikes that we have now are — I would say they’re functional, but they’re really old, so they’re not as functional or as appropriate as the ones that we’re getting,” Smith said.
Smith added officers must be certified to use the bikes, with nine bike officers currently in Laramie. The officers use them for a variety of reasons, she added, especially at events with large crowds and closed streets downtown.
“We have bike patrols out every night during Jubilee Days because it’s a pedestrian area downtown, so the cars can’t get places,” Smith said. “Although the officers are out walking around and could run there, it’s much faster with the patrol bike.”
Smith gave other examples where the bikes are preferred, including searching for lost children in the park during Freedom has a Birthday to using the bikes for stealth while patrolling at night around a neighborhood experiencing increased crime.
Anderson told council members during their meeting that the bikes will work for any officer who needs to use them.
“They asked for three different sizes so that they would work for any police man or woman that may be using them,” Anderson said during the meeting.
Additionally, the bikes are covered for a year of free service, and Anderson said negotiations are taking place to extend that warranty further.
Smith said while LPD appreciates the service assurance, she’s not sure how much service the bikes will need.
“Our guys take really good care of those bikes,” Smith said. “They do regular maintenance on them because they are expensive, and we want to make sure they last for a long time.”
Looking forward, Smith said LPD is looking to install bike racks onto patrol cars to help bike officers make the switch between the two patrol vehicles as needed.
The donation was a community effort; Anderson said the Rotary tried to keep everything local.
“All Terrain Sports was very gracious in working with us and finding fantastic deals, so this money was spent locally,” Anderson said during the Council meeting. “They hooked us up, so we were able to get five [bikes] and stay within our budget.”