Although the La Crescent Police Department could not promise that donuts will no longer be a part of the average apple capital police officer’s diet, regular bicycle rides may now be compulsory for at least some of the officers.
Thanks to an anonymous donation and some La Crescent Community Bike Shoppe clean up, the La Crescent Police Department are the proud new owners of a police bike.
“In the community we have been pushing environmentally friendly practices. One of those initiatives has been the bike trails,” said La Crescent Chief of Police Doug Stavenau. “There’s a safety aspect of having a presence on the trails. That means alternate means of transportation.”
In the department’s goal to actively engage with the community, Stavenau approached the La Crescent Community Bike Shoppe to talk about the two-wheeled addition.
“Chief Stavenau called and we thought it was a good idea,” said bike shoppe volunteer and Houston County Attorney Sam Jandt. “The police department help us out immensely. Doug is a good mechanic. Our mission is to help give back to the community.”
The nonprofit La Crescent Community Bike Shoppe was founded in 2007 through the five-year Active Living Grant bestowed upon La Crescent until 2013.
Completely run by volunteers, the bike shoppe’s goal is to help benefit the community by encouraging bike riding and teaching residents about all things bicycle—safety, bike trails, maintenance and upkeep.
In 2016, the bike shoppe moved into its permanent home: a space at the front of the La Crescent Community Arena under the green awning. There are about 20 volunteers at the shop.
“The community has really helped us,” said Jandt. “When we moved into our new shop, the city employees helped paint the place and get two boards on the wall.”
The bike shoppe not only repurposes bikes, but it also refurbishes parts to sell for upkeep costs. The operation runs on community donations.
Although the police department has had bicycles in the past, the department had been going without for the past few years.
“We used to have one that we would ride during Applefest and Halloween,” Stavenau said. “We are really interested in re-establishing the program.”
About two weeks ago, a bike was found anonymously donated outside the doors of the bike shoppe.
“We were able to repurpose it, so it would be a functional fit for the officers,” Jandt said. “It’s a normal bike but we put a rack on the back to hang a medical bag. It’s more rugged. It’s a heavy duty bike. We wouldn’t have been able to buy a bike like that.”
The bike will soon make its premiere on the streets of La Crescent.
“We are going to use the bike during Applefest,” Stavenau said.
The event runs Sept. 14-17.
This story has been updated.