Waukesha Police bike patrol gets a boost from Firehouse Subs

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WAUKESHA – City police bike patrol will get a little more pedal power, not only from special electric motors, but also from a charity wing of a national sub-channel.

The Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation has awarded the Waukesha Police Department a grant of $ 18,399 for four electric bikes to use in their community patrol program, intended to provide positive contact experiences with the police.

The grant was presented in a ceremony Tuesday at the Sunset Crossings location of Firehouse Sub, the former Kmart mall on Sunset Drive.

The police department applied for a grant from the foundation when it began to consider acquiring the battery-powered bikes last year as part of its mission in the city, and not strictly within the meaning of enforcing the law. The general idea is to engage people in a friendly manner.

“What these bikes do is allow us to be more engaged in our neighborhoods,” said Police Chief Dan Thompson. “Because it’s not just about patrolling the neighborhoods. It’s about being involved in the neighborhoods, being seen and being there.

“What we want to do with these bikes is… go to other parts of the community where they don’t see the police as often, where we can take that bike and play basketball with the kids in the park, have a conversation and build those relationships in neighborhoods where they will know us by our first names, ”added Thompson.

Programs like this help the department’s efforts to maintain positive relationships with local residents, and it has worked, said Thompson, a 29-year veteran of the Milwaukee Police Department who was hired in March 2020 to fill the post vacated by Russell Jack upon retirement.

“Where in other communities there are concerns and issues with the relationship between law enforcement and the community, here it’s a great partnership and relationship,” he said.

Captain Dan Baumann, an officer who also serves as the department’s spokesperson, said e-bikes increase the range of the patrol compared to traditional bikes powered strictly by leg muscles. Such patrols in the past have been much closer to the heart of the city.

The foundation derives most of its money from donations from customers, who always have the option of matching their purchases to the next dollar. Each location also has donation cans on the counters for anyone wishing to donate cash.

Another major fundraiser relates to Fire Safety Month in October, where stores sell medallions in increments of $ 1, $ 5, or $ 25. Medallions are hung in stores to reward donors and remind people of the safety campaign.

“We here at Waukesha are going through something quite impressive,” said Michael Rady, one of the three co-owners of the Waukesha franchise from Firehouse Subs. “I see the community every day giving and giving and giving money back because they want to see lives (positively) affected. They know it’s going to make a difference.”

Rady said his store has contributed to Wisconsin’s status as a primary fundraiser over the past five years for the chain’s public safety foundation.

Eric Erwin, the regional representative for Firehouse Subs in the state, said it was the tradition of the foundation, founded in 2005 after the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. Since then, the foundation has distributed around $ 60 million in rescue equipment, including $ 1 million in Wisconsin.

“This restaurant ranks at the top here in Waukesha,” Erwin said.

Waukesha has already received an automated external defibrillator through the foundation as part of a special effort involving 1,000 stores nationwide.

Contact Jim Riccioli at (262) 446-6635 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @jariccioli.



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