Painesville police start bicycle unit with help of community donations

Mary Jo Miller, owner of Bella Donna Salon & Spa, helped raise donations for the bicycles. (Source: WOIO)
Mary Jo Miller, owner of Bella Donna Salon & Spa, helped raise donations for the bicycles. (Source: WOIO)
Bike patrols will focus on downtown Painesville. (Source: WOIO)
Bike patrols will focus on downtown Painesville. (Source: WOIO)

PAINESVILLE, OH (WOIO) - A community has rallied together to bring in donations to help make its police force a little stronger. A bicycle patrol unit is now hitting the streets in Painesville.

Police bicycle patrols aren't just in the city anymore. They're popping up in the suburbs, including Painesville.

Mary Jo Miller, the owner of Bella Donna Salon & Spa on Main Street, heard the police chief's idea to get officers onto two wheels instead of four and she knew she had to do something to help.

"It's a very exciting program, so we're more than willing to help," she said.

She donated a year's worth of massages at an open house to the cause, selling 120 tickets for $10 each, which raised $1,200 for police.

"There were people buying 10 tickets at a time just to be able to support the effort," Miller said.

Some personal donations brought the money raised up to $1,800, allowing police to buy two bicycles and a lot more.

"We had enough money from donations that paid for the uniform needs of the officers and to pay for the training," said Police Chief Anthony Powalie.

The chief couldn't resist taking a spin on one of the bikes himself. He wants the patrols is to keep an eye on downtown and deter crimes as Painesville grows. He also hopes the program helps get the homeless and veterans living on the streets the resources they need.

"My vision is to get them out of the cars to go inside of businesses, talk to business owners, go up and down residential streets and talk to residents," Powalie said. "How else are you going to know what the issues of the city are?"

Miller thinks that will put small business owners' minds at ease.

"Having them out there if we need them quickly, they'll be able to respond even faster than they did before," she said.

Painesville Police hope to add one or two more bicycles to the unit in the future. Residents can check out their new bikes on May 19 at the "Party on Main Street" downtown.

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