Silverthorne police seeking applicants for bike giveaway
SILVERTHORNE – Calling all Silverthorne kids: Want a free bicycle?
Silverthorne Police Sgt. Mark Hanschmidt will be visiting Silverthorne and Dillon Valley elementary schools today to distribute applications for the department’s second annual bike giveaway. Hanschmidt and his partners plan to give away 80 new bikes, 100 helmets and 100 bike locks to children who participate in the program.
Children will be asked to complete an application – in English or Spanish – and write a short essay on why they deserve a bicycle and how they plan to take care of it. The applications must be signed by parents and returned to students’ classroom teachers or the police department by 4 p.m. May 24.
“We have always had problems with chronic bike thefts in town during the summer months,” Hanschmidt said. “Last year, we educated and gave bikes, helmets and locks to about 65 kids. To our surprise, bike theft and youth injuries are way down and have almost stopped.”
Applicants will be selected for the program by a committee of police officers, teachers, town council members and apartment complex managers. The bikes and equipment will be given away at a kick-off party scheduled from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 8. The party will include a bike rodeo to teach kids maneuvering skills and the rules of the road, helmet fitting and painting, anti-theft bike registration and maintenance skills like fixing a flat.
Children also will have a chance to check out “big toys.” Emergency vehicles from fire departments, the ambulance service, search and rescue, Flight for Life and the Colorado State Patrol will be present for inspection, along with the U.S. Forest Service’s Smokey the Bear, Silverthorne’s police dog, 911 dispatchers and the Colorado Division of Wildlife.
“This is what community policing is all about,” Hanschmidt said. “This gives kids a chance to work with cops and not see them as the bad guy. And we’ve planned it to follow the town’s fishing derby, so it should be a day full of fun.”
The program has grown from an attempt by the police to clear their evidence room of unclaimed bikes. This year’s effort is funded by a $2,000 grant from the Colorado Regional Community Policing Institute, a $1,000 grant from Wal-Mart and helmet donations from Summit Medical Center.
Wal-Mart department manager Mary Jewett said she is happy to get involved with the program because she could see the positive results herself.
“Last year, I saw six kids in my neighborhood get new bikes,” Jewett said. “And the helmets just make good sense.”
Sgt. Hanschmidt is seeking donors of bikes for older children, as well. If an interested person has a clean bike in good working order they can part with, he said, they can call him at (970) 262-7320.
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