By Dean Vaglia
Leader Staff Writer
The Village of Oxford Downtown Development Authority (DDA) purchased a new bike for the Oxford Village Police Department.
The bike, a Volcanic APB, is specially designed for police use.
“It’s got 29 inch wheels, which allows me to have a better approach and angle on stairs or large potholes,” OVPD Reserve Officer Keith Redlin said. “It has a fixed back end, so there is no shock [on the rear wheel] which allows me to get up and go as fast as I possibly can. It has a large tubular frame, which allows me to carry weight as well, such as [a] bag.”
Alongside the structural features that make the bike suited for police work, it is outfitted with lights and sirens so the bike is noticeable when need be. The bike’s bag carries a first aid kit with narcan and a CPR mask, as well as bracelets and stickers to hand out.
The bike will be used to patrol around the downtown area — particularly the social districts — as well as the Polly Ann Trail. While it is possible to use the bike in enforcement situations, its primary use will be community outreach.
“It’s really for me more of an opportunity to educate versus enforcing anything because I’m out here in a more personable manner,” Redlin said. “I am equipped to do the job I have to do. I’m not outrunning traffic on M-24 trying to catch speeders or anything like that. What I love to do though is to sit at stop signs or intersections or areas where people have complained about people going through intersections or driving erratically. They see me and they think twice and go ‘Woah there’s a police officer on a bicycle, what’s going on here.’ I don’t have to do anything because they’ll slow down or stop and pay more attention.”
According to Kelly Westbrook, executive director for the Oxford DDA, the idea to get the bike was planted around the time the social districts were being created.
“When we implemented the social district we knew that a lot of people were going to be walking with drinks, and one of the first things I did was I went and spoke to chief (Micheal Solwold) and asked him his opinion on [the districts],” Westbrook said. “I didn’t necessarily want to go and spend all this time with the state making a social district if the police chief wasn’t on board with it … After [the district] got implemented he actually came to us and chatted with us about the bike.”
Between COVID canceling events and various grant opportunities coming up, the DDA was able to make room for the $1,800 bike in its budget.
“I think it is great because we are adding so many more events now, so we are going to have more people downtown and being out in the community,” Westbrook said.
1723 – Oxford Village Police Department Reserve Officer Keith Redlin shows off the department’s new Volcanic patrol bike. The bike was gifted by the DDA to help with enforcement around the social districts.
1729 – Oxford Village Police Department Chief Micheal Solwold (left), Oxford Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Kelly Westbrook (center) and OVPD Reserve Officer Keith Redlin pose with the department’s new Volcanic bike (black) and older Trek bike (white).
1737 – Oxford Village Police Department Reserve Officer Keith Redlin tests out the department’s new patrol bike in front of the police station. The bike will be used downtown and along the Polly Ann Trail.