Bicycle retrieval by police seen as costly and mundane by some

The question of whether police will continue to collect stolen or found bicycles was a subject of discussion Tuesday at the city Public Safety Committee.

“When are (we) police going to stop collecting bicycles?” asked Councilman N. Clifford “Skip” Smith, chairman.

On average, a city police officer spends about an hour per call whenever he or she has to handle one related to a stolen or found bicycle, according to city Police Chief Gregory A. Foresman.

The department is handling calls related to stolen or found bicycles. The police recover at least 300 to 400 bicycles a year, Foresman said. The Ford Taurus model used by police doesn’t have space in the trunk for properly transporting bikes, he said.

“It’s a waste of the officers’ time,” Smith said. He said considering wages, benefits and multiplying it by as many hours as it takes to deal with bicycles it’s also a costly endeavor.

Later, when asked about the expense using taxpayer dollars, Council President Bill Hall said he respectfully disagreed with Smith’s view.

“With the bicycles, it’s stolen property,” Hall said. “Someone is a victim of crime. That’s what we pay our police to take care of. If they can’t find the owner of the stolen bicycle I believe we have a process of selling the bicycles online.”

Hall said he doesn’t have a problem with police continuing to retrieve bicycles.

“Maybe they need a better way of returning them, such as putting the stolen, lost and or found bicycle pictures online,” he said.