ShareThis Page
News

Police, community bond over bike giveaway program

| Sunday, Dec. 24, 2006, 12:00 p.m.

Alitta Williamson couldn't believe Pittsburgh police would give her children free bicycles, helmets and water bottles.

"I think it's wonderful. Human kindness is not dead, "said Williamson, 44, of the North Side, as she loaded a bike into her car Saturday.

Police each year recover hundreds of lost or stolen bicycles, in all sizes and condition, said Chief Nathan Harper. Others are donated to the police department's bike give-away program.

"There were always a lot of bikes in the evidence rooms," he said as members of the department's mountain bike division helped anxious children find a bicycle that was right for them. Bike officers suggested that the bikes be made roadworthy and returned to the community.

Police gave away almost 300 bikes yesterday in a program that they said helps foster better community relations.

"It's a joyous occasion. We like to see joyous occasions," Harper said. "We're in the business of building bridges, not walls."

The recipients of the bicycles had been predetermined based on contact with local churches.

Officers clearly enjoyed playing Santa for a day.

"It's very rewarding. It gives us great pride to help these kids out," said bike officer Matthew Lacknar.

The program is a collaboration between the police department and the business community, Harper said.

The bicycles were repaired by Jerry Kraynick, who owns a bicycle shop in Garfield. The Allegheny County Health Department's Traffic Safety Division donated helmets that were handed out to each child who received a bike.

Water bottles were donated by REI, and Hinkel-Hofmann donated storage space for the bicycles. Giant Eagle donated cookies for the event.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me