The Winston-Salem Police Department is teaming up with the Salvation Army and Forsyth Technical Community College to provide refurbished bicycles to local families this holiday season.
During the week of Sept. 21, the Police Department will provide 81 unclaimed bicycles to the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program.
To get the bicycles ready for their new homes, Forsyth Technical Community College students taking courses in automobile-body repair will touch up the bicycles to make them look as good as new, said Mark Walker, the class instructor. "The students get the benefit of auto repair by fixing up bicycles, since these are basically the same procedures when working with automobiles," Walker said.
The bikes entered police possession as abandoned or stolen property and are no longer needed as evidence or for investigative reasons. In cases where owners were known, certified letters were mailed to their last known address. In August, the Police Department placed an advertisement in the Winston-Salem Journal asking owners to claim their bicycles, but only one family came forward. Some of the donated bikes are damaged beyond use, however, they can provide replacement parts for other bicycles.
N.C. General Statute 15-12 authorizes the Police Department to donate unclaimed bicycles to non-profit organizations recognized by the Internal Revenue Service, said Pat Burke, the Police Department’s evidence supervisor. "Our first donation of 70 bicycles was completed in 2008," Burke said. "The 2009 donation will exceed last year's by 11 bicycles." Evidence Specialist Jennifer Rivers is coordinating this year’s donation.
Police Chief Scott Cunningham said that the bicycle donation helps meet his goal of increasing police interaction with the community. "This is a great way to get bicycles back into the community, the same community the bikes came from, and in time for the traditional family holiday season," he said. "We serve our community in many ways. The most visible program is in our active policing, but we have many behind-the-scene efforts always in progress, all year long."
The donation represents half the 160 bicycles and scooters in police custody, Burke said. Burke said he would like to conduct this donation on a semi-annual basis next year. Agencies other than the Salvation Army looking to participate in this program should contact Burke at 773-7895, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. To facilitate contact, interested organizations should fax their IRS 501(c)(3) certification status as soon as possible to 773-7888.
Winston-Salem Police Department web site
MEDIA ADVISORY: The bicycles will be turned over to the Salvation Army at 10 a.m. Monday, Sept. 21, at the Alexander R. Beaty Public Safety Training and Support Center, 1200 N. Patterson Ave. Media representatives should enter through the lobby at the northwest corner of the building.