BY KALISHA MENDONSA
The Lacombe Kinsmen group recently donated $5,000 to kick-start the planned bike patrol program that will be introduced with the Lacombe Police Service (LPS) in 2017.
Const. Jeff Hewitt of LPS is excited to have received this donation for the program he will be heading up.
“Last month, I approached the Kinsmen Club with my idea of starting a bike unit here in Lacombe. I did a presentation for them, and the Kinsmen gladly stepped up to gather the funds, and today I’m excited to have been given this cheque,” Hewitt said.
“The cheque is for $5,000 and that will provide two bikes here for the police service, as well as a hitch for all of our equipment we would need. We will have hydration packs for members, our ticket packs, helmets, shoes and sunscreen for when the sun comes out,” he said.
Hewitt will be providing training for the members and leading the unit, with everything he needs to get it up and running covered by the Kinsmen donation.
As well, he is very excited to be able to host Bicycle Rodeo events for the young kids of Lacombe, where they learn about bike safety, hand signals, how to ride bikes safely near traffic and other useful information.
“You are very approachable on a bike. I worked with a bike unit with RCMP and people loved being able to engage with us through that program. It’s a great way to interact with the community. It’s a less intimidating approach, and it’s great for patrolling alleys at night to help prevent property theft and crime,” Hewitt said.
“I’m hoping that as soon as the snow melts, we can start to get a few of our members trained for the spring, with the program coming to the City in time for summer.”
Hewitt is a school resource officer and said he is looking forward to being able to bike to work and to be able to interact with the community more during City events such as Lacombe Days, the Culture and Harvest Festival and more.
Klaas Kikstra, current president of the Lacombe Kinsmen Group, said the group felt it was a positive use of funding, as it supports community engagement as well as public safety.
“It’s not a huge sponsorship in terms of money, but it’s a sizable program that will reach a lot of people,” Kikstra said.
“Five thousand dollars is still a large amount of money for us. We gave $5,000 to the Blackfalds playground society for a new playground, but those numbers are still a challenge for a group our size to meet.”
Right now, the Kinsmen group is continuing to fundraise for local community programs such as these and there will be a community auction taking place in the New Year.
Kikstra said it’s exciting to be a part of these community-oriented programs around the City, and that the Kinsmen group is happy to be able to help get the wheels turning on the bike patrol program.