Springfield Police are finding bicycles to be a great way for them to build stronger relationships with people in the community.
“One of the big issues for police services in general, and us more specifically, is how do we get out and connect with the community but also be able to conduct enforcement at the same time,” says Constable Jesse Zillman. “So, bikes are kind of a happy medium there. I mean, we're not going to spend all our time on the bikes because then we won't be able to respond to calls that are far away. But we can get out, we can talk with people, we can be visible in areas that are tougher to get a vehicle in.”
Springfield Police have already been out on the bikes. Zillman says the community response has been great, adding that it is easier to connect with the public when they are not in a police vehicle.
“The vehicle can definitely be a barrier to communication,” he says. “A lot of the time, when you're in the police vehicle, people don't feel that it's appropriate to approach. So, when you're out on the bike, you're out there. People can talk to you, you can talk to them easily, there isn't that formality where you got the vehicle and the lights and everything going.”
Zillman says the department applied for a grant through the Criminal Property Forfeiture Fund, to pay for some community events and police bikes.
They received $7,500 for two bikes with all of the police fixings and equipment, as well as bike uniforms and boots specifically for bike use.
Zillman adds that we can expect details in the near future on some upcoming community events.
Earlier this year, the Manitoba government provided $20,500 through the Criminal Property Forfeiture Fund to the Steinbach RCMP detachment and $17,500 to the Manitoba East District Crime Reduction Enforcement Support Team (CREST).
Since its inception in 2009, the Criminal Property Forfeiture Fund has distributed more than $20 million back to communities throughout the province. The program seizes and liquidates criminal assets, and redirects funding to projects and initiatives designed to protect Manitobans and enhance public safety.