Connellsville police hitting the streets on foot and bikes
Residents may see the Connellsville police on foot and on two wheels this summer.
Mayor Greg Lincoln said the police department is working to bring back its bicycle and foot patrols.
Lincoln said the police department had three bicycles in storage. He said four police officers are interested in bicycle patrol.
“Basically I asked the officers to be out of the cars as much as they can during their shifts,” Lincoln said. He said a local bicycle shop was tuning up the bikes at no cost to the city.
“Citizens feel so much safer when they see a police officer walking the beat,” said Capitos.
Police Chief James Capitos said it's been several years since Connellsville had patrols on bicycles and foot. He said it was easier years ago to have that option due to more officers on the force on duty.
No routes have bee set for bicycle patrols. Capitos said the bike patrols will most likely be sent out during events or to the parks, the playgrounds and the neighborhoods.
Capitos said officers on the bicycles will need to have a patrol car at a reasonable distance in case an emergency call would come through.
The foot patrol will also focus on similar areas as well as shopping plazas where officers can to handle incidents like illegal parking in handicapped spots, etc.
“They will have more personal contact with the public,” Capitos said. He said the department tried to have a foot patrol last summer, which worked out well until the officers had to be pulled in response to the increased incidents of vandalism the city experienced.
Capitos said the time the officers are either on bicycle or on foot will depend on the call volume the city.
“If this summer is relatively quiet, you'll see them out,” Capitos said.
Lincoln said he's hoping to see the patrols starting in May.
“This is a very positive thing for our community,” Lincoln said.
Lincoln also announced the police department received up to $3,000 in donations to reach a $8,000 goal to receive matching funding to replace body armor with the Bulletproof Vest Partnership through the Department of Justice's Office of Justice Program.
About $16,000 will be needed to purchase the vests, which will be custom-fitted for each officer. The cost for the vests will be between $815 and $915 each.
Lincoln said the city has received generous donations from not just businesses and organizations, but from people living in and outside of Connellsville. Donations have ranged in various amounts.
Anyone who wants to make a donation can do so by making a check payable to the City of Connellsville and mailing it to Connellsville City Hall, 110 N. Arch St., Connellsville, PA 15425
Police are also issuing a warning to drivers — if you don't stop at crosswalks for pedestrians, you will be cited.
Capitos said it's important for drivers to be aware of someone crossing the street at crosswalks. It's also important for pedestrians to realize they can't blindly walk out onto a crosswalk with a moving vehicle about to pass through and expect the vehicle to stop.
“A car moving 25 to 30 miles per hour is faster than you think,” Capitos said. “You have to be reasonable.”
Mark Hofmann is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-626-3539 or firstname.lastname@example.org.