Michigan State Police hold second Bike with a Cop with Benton Harbor youth
BENTON HARBOR, Mich. -- Since 2015, Michigan State Police has had a handful of troopers stationed in Benton Harbor as part of its Secure Cities Initiative, which addresses crime by equally prioritizing enforcement and community engagement.
“It’s the perfect opportunity, they have time on their hands and it’s also a chance for us to grab their attention and try and get to know them,” said Spl/Lt. DuWayne Robinson, Public Information Officer with Michigan State Police Fifth District.
MSP hosted its second annual Bike with a Cop Wednesday, where students with the Boys and Girls Club enjoyed lunch provided by Blue Roof Church and had the chance to win bikes donated by both MSP and Cycle Recycle.
“You give a kid a bicycle and they’ve got transportation, and any time we can work with law enforcement on positive policing that’s great,” said Tom Hurst, a volunteer with Cycle Recycle.
Giving kids some wheels, Hurst said, instantly grants them a way to stay active and a hobby.
“We fixed a lot of bikes and got a lot of kids riding them, we have a group of bikes which are camp bikes and then the Michigan State Police brought about a dozen,” said Hurst.
MSP believes there’s a way to make lasting change – what they call “smart justice” – recognizing that relieving tension in police-community relations can also curb crime.
“This is an alternative to what they normally see out of police, which is stopping cars, giving tickets, taking people to jail,” said Spl/Lt. Robinson. “We want them to see us as humans and connect with them on their level.”