July 20, 2020

Pastor purchases electric bikes for Chillicothe police to help increase community policing

Pastor purchases electric bikes for Chillicothe police to help increase community policing

About five years ago, Pastor Pfeifer and three other local churches donated regular bikes.

A few weeks ago, Pastor Mark Pfeifer said he helped contribute to purchasing two new electric bicycles for the Chillicothe Police Department.

“It’s not like buying bicycles is the whole solution by any means, it’s a complicated problem with complicated solutions, but it is at least part of what we can do,” Pastor Pfeifer said.

He said a lot has been on his members’ minds, like COVID-19 and the fight for racial justice.

“We have a multiracial congregation, so those conversations are had,” Pastor Pfeifer said.

Part of those conversations was member and office, Sergeant Micah Shanks.

“I’ve known him since he was a child and he’s been in our church for years and he’s been like a spiritual son to my wife and I and really close to our family,” Pastor Pfeifer said.

Sgt., Shanks has been with the Chillicothe Police Department for nine years.

“It’s a step towards community policing, right; when you have a police officer in uniform driving a patrol car it sets barriers between you and the public, there’s a big car and not really approachable,” Sgt., Shanks said.

That is why he said having officers on bikes helps build relationships. He said during his first couple of years, they had bikes but they were old and broken down.

About five years ago, Pfeifer and three other local churches donated regular bikes.

Now, Pastor Pfeifer has done it again. He used money the church had leftover, around $4,500 to help find a solution in the conversations.

“I’ve watched those policemen on bicycles and it is a big difference, cause they stop and talk and chat and it really does humanize them, it takes away the barrier the cruizer creates because you’re not going to haul people away on a bicycle,” Pastor Pfeifer said.

The bikes were purchased from River’s Bend Bike Shop in Chillicothe.

“It’s a momentum of 28 miles an hour electric-assist bicycle, you have to pedal with them,” Owner Jamie Sharp said.

He said he feels these are not only helpful for the officers, but for the community as well.

“I think anytime you see anybody on a bike, I think it’s a good thing and a police officer on a bike is even better cause it’s almost like hands-on it’s like you can see them and touch them rather than some car you’re kind of scared of,” Sharp said.

The idea is, as mentioned, to build relationships, increase trust and increase community policing.

“if there’s a concern of if they want to ask a question or whatever it may be; a conversation starts up, people sitting on their porches when you’re in a car they will wave at you but when you’re on a bicycle and you can stop and talk to them for a minute they may have some concerns or they just want to say thank you for what you’re doing or whatever, you get to have that kind of conversation,” Sgt., Shanks said.

The pastor said he feels, anyone can help create change no matter how small the gestures or actions are.

“I really believe that all of us have that something we can do, everybody has something that they can do and I think that as we have a discussion about rights, we should have a discussion about responsibilities and all of us just have a responsibility to make our world better,” Pastor Pfeifer said.

Sgt., Shanks said a few community members have reached out to the bicycle shop to ask about purchasing more bikes for patrol.

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