The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is now better equipped to patrol the city, thanks to a recent donation from the Central Indiana Bicycling Association Foundation (CIBA) and Bicycle Garage Indy. On Friday, the IMPD's Homeless Outreach unit was presented with five new mountain bikes during a ceremony at the Indy Bike Hub YMCA.
The bikes were presented to Sgt. Robert Hipple, IMPD's Community Affairs correspondent. Hipple said that bikes are an invaluable tool for community patrol, especially when it comes to policing the city's rougher neighborhoods.
"The slight twist is that my unit works with the homeless, and a majority of the locations are only accessible by foot or bike," Hipple said. "We are much more efficient and quicker by using bicycles to patrol these locations."
Established in 2010, IMPD's Homeless Outreach unit monitors homeless activity, responds to complaints and acts as a liaison between public safety agencies and the homeless community. The unit also works with social services to place homeless individuals in shelters or other service provider programs.
BGI president and founder Randy Clark was also on hand for the presentation.
"It is my vision that Indianapolis become as bike-friendly as possible and that includes having active bicycle patrolmen with quality equipment," Clark said.
This isn't the first time that Bicycle Garage Indy has supported the IMPD — the garage has been providing Indianapolis officers with bikes and regular maintenance for several years. Last year, when Sgt. Joshua Shaughnessy's bike was totaled in an accident in downtown Indy, BGI donated a replacement.
CIBA has also been actively involved in making the city more bike-friendly. Since its founding in 1997, CIBA's foundation has donated over $257,000 in grants to cycling organizations throughout the Indianapolis area.