By Steven Piper
Starting July 4, Signal Hill police officers will take to the streets on recently donated bicycles. Thanks to a $10,000 donation from the Signal Hill Honorary Police Officers Association (HPOA), the Signal Hill Police Department (SHPD) will reinstate its bike patrol program.
At the Signal Hill City Council’s June 7 meeting, HPOA representative Frank Virga presented the check to the city council. “On behalf of HPOA President George Lopez, officers, the board of directors and members of the association, I would like to say ‘thank you’ for the opportunity to come before you in order to present this check for $10,000 to the SHPD to implement the bicycle patrol program,” Virga said. “We are excited about this presentation. It has taken 18 months of tournaments and donations.”
Lopez said that he thinks having police officers patrolling on bikes will greatly benefit the interactions between citizens and the police officers. “If officers are on bikes by the shopping center, then they can stop and talk to the people, and they can get more comfortable with the police department,” Lopez said. “That is most important. We need people to feel comfortable. It would be good public relations for the police department.”
Signal Hill Mayor Larry Forester called for the four bikes to come before the council so that the audience could see the department’s new rides. “All the bikes that you see out there are there because of this group,” Forester said.
According to Virga, HPOA fundraises for widows and orphans of officers that are killed in the line of duty, in addition to assisting the family of officers that are injured while on the job. “We are small but mighty when it comes to our resolve in supporting the police department and the officers of Signal Hill.” Virga extended an invitation to those interested in joining the organization to attend any HPOA meetings, which take place on the third Thursday of every month at 6:30pm at Curly’s restaurant, 1999 E. Willow St. On June 24, the association will be hosting a fundraising golf tournament at Skylinks golf course at 4800 E. Wardlow Rd.
Prior to the presentation of the new bikes, recently appointed SHPD Police Chief Michael Langston was sworn in, and he expressed his appreciation toward HPOA for the donated money and support. “I want to thank the association for the bikes and their commitment to officers and the City of Signal Hill,” Langston said. “You will see them July 4– their first time out. They’ll be up on the hill at the park.”
By Steven Piper