Chatham agrees to put cops behind handlebars

CHATHAM–The Village Board has authorized the formation of a Chatham Police Bicycle Unit. The village Police Department plans to buy two new bikes and have an old one refurbished so that bike patrols can start by July.

At the May 12 board meeting Police Chief Peter Volkmann said that he had received three bids on bikes for the police and that the new bicycle shop in Chatham came in with the lowest bid at $840 per bicycle. He said that there is money left in the 2015-16 police budget to cover the expense and that officers planning to participate in the unit have money in their clothing allowance to buy the new bike unit uniforms.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Chief Volkmann told the board of getting the bike unit rolling, and said that several of his part-time officers have expressed interest in being part of the unit. Officers in the unit will have to take a week-long training course.

“I think it gets people talking to officers,” the chief said.

He explained that the bicycles will carry general first-aid kits and Narcan, an opiate antidote used to revive people who have overdosed.

In making the motion to support the bicycle unit, Trustee Gunnar Wordon said, “I love it.”

Chief Volkmann, in his report to the board, also talked about the prescription drug take-back day the village hosted last month. “The feedback we get is that: I wish you did it more,” he said of the program.

He also talked about attending a program on young adult recovery. He said that he wanted to get the word out that if people come to the police asking for help with addiction they will not be arrested. “We, as police, are not here to arrest people who have problems in their life,” he said.

He did say that arrests by village police were up last month but that this often happens in spring. He said there were some disorderly conduct arrests but he expects that should diminish. There were 11 arrests total for the month of April.

Also at the meeting:

• The board renewed the Town of Chatham’s lease on the upstairs courtroom at the Tracy Memorial Village Hall. The town will rent the space from the village for $1,650, with a two-year lease. This is a $150 increase from the last lease

• Chief Volkmann reported that the crosswalk on Woodbridge Avenue at the entrance to the main school campus has been moved further from the train tracks and slightly further from the road leading to the Chatham Elementary and High schools. The chief said that school officials, police and the village crossing guard were helping at the intersection. The state asked that the change be made as part of the Safe Routes to Schools grant. The grant funded most of the cost of the repair and upgrade of the sidewalks in front of the Middle School

• Mayor Tom Curran read the report from the village clerk, which included the news that no detectable level of PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) was found in village water after testing was conducted

• Trustee Jay Rippel reported that the Friends of the Tracy Memorial group is applying for a grant to pay for a National Registry of Historic Places sign for the building. He also acknowledged the group’s efforts to have the building included in the registry.

The next Village Board meeting will be a workshop May 26 at 7 p.m.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .

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