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Officers deliver bikes to children in need

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Lt. Carlton Williams pulls out a bicycle as his fellow officers deliver them to children on Thursday. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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By Tyler Stocks
The Daily Reflector

Friday, December 21, 2018

Steady rain did not stop the Greenville Police Department and one local business owner from delivering bicycles to children in need on Thursday.

Officers went from neighborhood to neighborhood, visiting youth in each of the patrol zones throughout the city.

The bicycles were donated by Brent Lee, owner of Lee of Greenville. Lee said he has been donating to charity since the 1980s.

“I’ve been trying to teach my kids the value of giving and the importance of giving,” Lee said. “It feels great and I’ve been blessed myself. This is a way to pay it back and pay it forward.”

”Everybody can give something,” he said. “Even if you can’t give money, you can give your time.”

Officials said the event was an opportunity to foster goodwill between police officers and the public they protect and serve.

Greenville Police Chief Mark Holtzman said building trust with members of the community is imperative. 

“We talk about trust a lot,” he said. “If someone gave me a bike, I’d probably trust them. This is a great way to build that bridge.

“I wish when I was a younger cop — growing up working the streets — that somebody would give me an opportunity to go out and deliver a bicycle to somebody and just see that smile on their face,” Holtzman said. “I’m kind of encouraged and excited about that, being able to watch some of these officers go out and knock on the door and deliver a bicycle.”

Neighborhood officer Russ McClain, who works in the department’s South Zone, said handing out bicycles was a pleasure.

“It’s huge for us to be able to do this,” McClain said. “We interact with these kids throughout the year and talk to them and we try to become friends with them, somebody they can see and know they can come to us about anything. To be able to come and hand out bikes, that just strengthens that bond that we have with the children that are out there.”

McClain, who has been with the department for 3 1/2 years, said he wants the public to know that the police department cares. 

“A lot of times, people don’t feel that their problem is big enough or significant enough to contact the police department,” he said. “We’re out there to say ‘’Hey, every problem you have, come to us for it because we can help you take care of it.’”

Holtzman said he wants to continue creating positive interactions between law enforcement and the community. 

“I love this time of year and I love being able to have positive interactions between our police officers and our community that we serve, whether we’re shopping with a cop, delivering bicycles or just delivering good news and having that great interaction,” he said. “We talk about community policing and this is as good as it gets.” 

McClain said community policing is not possible without a partnership. 

“The police department can’t do it alone,” he said. “They are out there all the time and they see what’s going on and know when things are out of place, so having those partnerships and being able to work together, that’s exactly what we need as a police department. That’s community policing in a nutshell.”

Contact Tyler Stocks at tstocks@reflector.com or 252-329-9566.  Follow him on Twitter @TylerstocksGDR

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Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

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