June 15, 2004 – Officer Robert Gardner was all smiles as he got his first look at one of the five Trek mountain bikes donated to the Police Department's St. Thomas bicycle patrol by the St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce at a brief ceremony on Tuesday morning.
"The bicycle patrol is great for downtown businesses and tourists," Gardner said while inspecting his new two-wheeled patrol vehicle. "We have a quick response time, and we're quiet."
At the presentation, Police Commissioner Elton Lewis thanked the chamber for its gift. "The bike patrol goes a long way toward making downtown safe for tourists and workers," he said, adding that the new bicycles will help.
Gardner, the unit supervisor, said the bikes are the first news ones received by the six patrol officers since 1997, the year the patrol began.
Barry Broome, chair of the chamber's Crime Committee said, said the business organization had "known for some time that the bikes these guys had were in bad shape." So the chamber decided to buy the new vehicles, which were made available at cost by GNC Endurance Sports. The store's manager, Andy Whiteman, said on Tuesday that he was pleased to be able to help the chamber in its efforts.
Whiteman said the bicycles are not from Trek's official "police line," but the store provided the appropriate accessories, including lights, saddlebags and police stickers.
Cassan Pancham, chamber president, thanked Whiteman for his generosity and Lewis and the force for their efforts at helping to keep "people safe and able to conduct commerce downtown."
Reacting to news of the donation on Main Street, Cardow Jewelers employee Mina Orenstein said she was pleased. "The bicycle cops are great," she said. "They go places that are impossible to get to otherwise and give chase to the bad guys."
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