In December the Baxter Police and Personnel Commission and the city council approved a police department plan to start a new program to target the young people in the community. This program involves the use of a police motorcycle unit and unfortunately some misconceptions arose.
First and foremost, the city of Baxter did not purchase a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Harley Davidson Corporation has a special lease program for municipalities at the cost of $1.00 per year. There are equipment and service costs the city will be responsible for. However, the department has requested the financial help of the private sector and is also looking into grants to off-set those costs. The support of the community, businesses and civic groups, means that the cost will be very minimal to the department's budget.
The Baxter Police Department has been involved in several youth orientated programs such as: Safe House, Safety Town, DRE (Drug Recognition Enforcement), Bicycle Safety and Patrol, CounterAct and Officer Friendly. All of the programs target our young people to make them aware of drug and alcohol prevention, and safety in the home, on the street, and in schools. We hope to integrate the motorcycle into all of these programs, and use it as a means to open the lines of communication between the police and our children. Our young people are our most valuable resource and we must do all we can to protect them. I am positive that this program will do just that. Similar programs such as this have been working with great success around the state and I feel confident that the City of Baxter will benefit as well.
The police department is a part of city government and is dedicated to keeping the public's financial trust while providing the best possible services. I wish to thank the individuals, businesses and organizations that have already donated and supported the Harley Program. Donations and contributions are encouraged and can be mailed to the Baxter Police Department at P.O. Box 2626, Baxter, MN 56425 or for more information please call or contact me at (218) 855-5090.
(Gallant is chief of the Baxter Police Department.)
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