Wednesday, June 22, 2005
“Rubber meets the road” for SBPD this summer
South Bend— It’s time for the rubber to meet the road. Five sets of new rubber bike tires, to be exact.
When it comes to public safety in your neighborhood, summer’s the time when South Bend Police Department (SBPD) officers suit up in shorts and helmets and hit the streets all over the city. This year the SBPD was able to add a fleet of new all-terrain mountain bikes to its arsenal. With those extra bikes, and for the first time this year, patrol officers will have the option to cruise their beats on two or four wheels.
Especially with the recent warming trend, plenty of officers have already stepped up, or should we say, sat down to ride. If the weather is cooperative on any given day, several officers are assigned to ride during their shifts, spanning the hours from 7:00 a.m. till 10:00 p.m. Counting the “older” fleet, there are 15 bicycles available.
Capt. Terry Young explained that in the past, the SBPD has had a bicycle patrol that officers were assigned to. However, he said riders only covered the downtown and East Race areas. Now more officers have the opportunity to patrol their areas and offer personal presence in the neighborhoods.
And that’s in response to neighbors—north, south, east and west—letting the SBPD know that’s what they want and need.
Afternoon shift Cpl. Keenan Lane said already this year he’s had people coming out on their porches when he’s riding by. Seems that after being inside for the winter months, they have all sorts of things to share.
“People are happy to see us out again…and they tell me how much better they feel when we’re out here keeping the streets safe. Bike patrol not only serves the purpose of getting to know people’s concerns, but also to work on those concerns,” explained Lane, who generally covers the southwest region.
He continued, “Let’s say Mrs. Smith may tell me so-and-so is dealing drugs on that corner. Using the bikes, officers can roll up on dealers and surprise them when they are actually looking for police cars…bikes are a great tool for law enforcement.”
Lane smiled and added, “I really enjoy this opportunity and all the contacts. It’s a hands-on way to offer community policing…plus it’s a great way to stay in shape.”
June 8, 2005
RE: St. Joseph River alligator shot and killed by DNR officer on June 5
South Bend, Indiana— Contrary to reports, South Bend Police Department (SBPD) officers did not shoot the St. Joseph River alligator when spotted near Farmer’s Market in the river on Sunday, June 5. In fact, a conservation officer with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) determined for several public safety reasons to remove the gator.
According to the incident report, dispatchers received word of the alligator’s location at 7:28 a.m. and officers arrived at the scene and contacted the DNR shortly thereafter. Two DNR officers responded in a boat and proceeded to get closer to the gator.
SBPD Cpl. Dave Modlin stated after the DNR officers assessed the situation, they explained their decision to eliminate the reptile, which was about two and a half feet long.
“Because the alligator had been discovered by other river-goers recently, the DNR was aware of the situation and had considered alternatives such as a capture…but it wasn’t feasible. Also taken into consideration was the willingness of people along the river to try to help capture the gator and officials were concerned someone would end up getting hurt,” explained Modlin.
Modlin added, “We found it tragic that someone was irresponsible enough to abandon the alligator in the river in the first place…it couldn’t survive (the winter) and would have suffered.”
Locally, there are several ordinances referencing reptiles in the Municipal Code for the City of South Bend which prohibit a number of species.
For example, in Article 4., “Wild Animals, Poisonous Reptiles and Attack Dogs,” Sec. 5-22 lists alligators as one of the listed “protected animals” therefore making them “unlawful for any person to possess, offer for sale, buy, attempt to buy, or own within the City.”