Belleville’s second annual Community Bike Ride organized by the Belleville Police Department Saturday, May 21, was dedicated to family fun, fitness and further fostering community pride.
Police Chief Mark Minichini said the leisurely bike ride on a sun-kissed morning was the perfect opportunity for residents to meet and chat with officers in the Belleville Police Department who serve them every day.
About 100 cyclists in all — students, their parents, members of the police department and Mayor Michael Melham — gathered at Belleville High School in the morning and set out for a day of sun and fun. During the 3.6-mile ride, officers took the opportunity to chat with other riders about their summer vacation plans, their favorite sports teams and the importance of doing well in school.
Along with events such as the upcoming Walk to School Day, the police department says it is constantly looking for new ways to break down the barriers that sometimes exist between officers and members of the public.
“The Community Bike Ride is a great day for us to enhance our visibility and demonstrate our accessibility,” Minichini said. “Being seen around town and being an active part of this community has been an ongoing initiative for our police department since I became chief. This ride gives us another chance to get to know the residents we serve and protect.”
Bikes are an everyday part of the Belleville Police Department since it revived its long-dormant bicycle unit about four years ago. The initiative appears to be popular with Belleville residents who often wave hello to the police as they patrol the town — but it’s also popular among the officers.
Minichini said more than a dozen members of the department have completed the necessary training to take part in the bike patrol.
The Community Bike Ride also afforded police a chance to offer participants a refresher courses in bike safety. A bike rodeo was created where officers showed young cyclists the safest ways to take curves, make turns and other maneuvers. All participants received bicycle lights and water bottles.
“Our police department does a tremendous job of keeping us safe,” Melham said. “It is also a great community partner, and an event such as the Community Bike Ride is a prime example how enmeshed they are here.”
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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.