Have you seen or met the Bike Cops for Kids? If you are an adult you may not have. If, however, you are a kid in our community there’s a good chance you know Officer Mike and the other Bike Cops for Kids. Officers Mike Kirchen and Mark Klukow, who were School Resource Officers during the school year, started the program in the summer of 2009. It was a way of staying connected to the children during the summer and to give children positive interactions with police officers. That first year they received a grant from the Ciresi Foundation, support from the PEACE Foundation and found an amazing partner in Penn Cycle. They also partnered with North Memorial Medical Center, Pohlad Foundation and Bell sports equipment. They rode bikes around North Minneapolis that summer interacting with kids and handing out bike helmets.
Over the years other sponsors and partners joined them including Dean Phillips and his family, Mike Ciresi, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics and Bern Helmet. During the seven years since they started the program was started it has grown to more officers and now also connects with children in south Minneapolis as well as here on the Northside. Thanks to Mike Ciresi and Dean Phillips, the officers also often get to take kids to Twins games. Some of the officers also are out connecting with kids in neighborhoods year around, not just in the summer. Their goal, however, has never changed –“make a special memory stick into the hard drive of a child as they grow up in challenging situations. Connect cops and kids in an unusual setting, their own yard, and use helmets, bike safety and bikes to do it. Safety is the added bonus.”
This summer the Bike Cops for Kids will again be out connecting with Northside children but with a new twist. They will also be out and about with an awesome new truck that can not only hold a lot of bike helmets, but has refrigeration so they can hand out ice cream treats and an attached basketball hoop. The truck was funded and donated by Ciresi Conlin LLP and the Edward J. Phillips Family Foundation. If you see the Bike Cops for Kids out in the community this summer stop and say hi, take a picture with Officer Mike, who loves doing selfies, and get to know them. You can also follow the Bike Cops for Kids on their Facebook page.