City partners with Children’s Hospital to expand Bike Cops for Kids program

The City of Minneapolis and the Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota announced the expansion of the City of Minneapolis’ Bike Cops for Kids initiative to three new South Minneapolis neighborhoods. The announcement was made jointly by Mayor R.T. Rybak and President and CEO of Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota Alan L. Goldbloom, M.D. on Thursday, March 24 during a National Youth Violence Prevention Week event. Mayor Rybak and Dr. Goldbloom were joined by representatives of the Minneapolis Public Schools and the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board, who are partners in the City's efforts to reduce youth violence.

Blueprint to Prevent Youth Violence isa multi-faceted, multi-year action plan to attack the core issues behind the violence being inflicted on and by young people in Minneapolis. The current initiative will promote child safety and injury prevention around the hospital and clinic campus. Bike Cops for Kids officers will increase the number of free helmets distributed from 720 in 2010 to 1,440 in 2011. They will also increase the number of free bikes from 62 last year to 70 this year. The Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi Foundation for Children and the Phillips Family Foundation have also provided major funding for helmets and bikes since the inception of Bike Cops for Kids, and continue to help fund helmets in 2011.

As a result of long-term coordinated efforts among a wide array of partners, youth violence in Minneapolis has fallen sharply: since 2006, the number of youth suspects in violent crime has declined 62%, and the number of youth arrested for violent crime has declined 52%. Mayor Rybak also announced the release of a toolkit of activities aimed at helping youth, families and community partners reduce youth violence.

Bike Cops for Kids helps reduce youth violence by connecting youth with a trusted adult, which is one of the four goals of the Blueprint. The fast-growing Bike Cops for Kids initiative began in 2009 as the brainchild of Officers Mike Kirchen and Mark Klukow, two Northside police officers. The idea was to put veteran Minneapolis Police officers who serve in Minneapolis Public Schools during the school year, on bikes in the summer to engage with youth. The officers distribute free bike helmets as a unique way to connect one-on-one with youth, families and neighbors. The officers also distribute free bikes to youth who wear their helmets.

In 2011, eight officers will work on the North Side, in Northeast Minneapolis and in the Phillips, Lyndale, Central and CARAG neighborhoods of South Minneapolis. Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota is located in and already deeply engaged in the Phillips neighborhood.

Between their Minneapolis and Saint Paul campuses, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota operate the seventh-busiest pediatric-emergency department in America. They are working to build Minnesota’s first Level 1 pediatric trauma center inside a children’s hospital.

Published Mar 24, 2011