Editor's Note: This letter is a response to a that challenged several aspects of the
I am in receipt of your email, the voice mail you left at the Mayor’s office and the voice mail you left at my office dated August 14, 2012, in which you expressed displeasure at the police department’s response to a call in the area of your home at 3636 Rawnsdale. In response to your accusation that the police department’s response to this call was a waste of taxpayers’ dollars, that the Mayor “will pay for this, big time,” or that we give $10,000 bonus to officers that get kids without helmets,” it is not at all true.
I would like to provide you with some of the facts regarding this call.
On August 14, 2012, at approximately 5:35 pm, one of our civilian bike patrol units requested police assistance with a bicycle check in the area of Scottsdale/Sutherland. The bike patrol unit advised the dispatchers that a male on a bike had refused to stop when the bike patrol requested to talk to him; this was the 3rd time this week that the same male had fled from the bike patrol unit.
The male that the bike patrol was attempting to talk too was riding a girls bicycle and was riding in violation of our helmet law. The male began cursing at the bike patrol unit and was last seen riding towards Strandhill. Officers were dispatched to assist with the call, and the bike patrol unit advised officers that he had last seen the male on the bike entering the rear yard of 3636 Rawnsdale. Officers went to the door in an attempt to discuss the matter with you, but our in-car video recording of the event indicated that you began shouting obscenities through the front porch screen door, demanding that officers get off your property.
Officers also indicated that there was a juvenile male standing behind you who was also shouting obscenities, but neither the male nor the bicycle were observed on your property at that time. I believe that our officers’ response to this call was reasonable and that they utilized a high degree of discretion and restraint and left the property as you had requested without attempting to locate the initial male who fled from the bike patrol unit.
The City of Shaker Heights has both a bicycle licensing and bicycle helmet law. The purpose of these two ordinances are to provide for the safety of our community by reducing injuries related to bicycle accidents and to allow us to track the ownership of bicycles that are lost or stolen in the community. We have seen a drop in the number of bicycles lost or stolen in the past few years and I believe that this is attributable to our officers actively engaging the community to check licensing and bicycle helmet compliance.
Collectively, stolen bicycles cost residents of our community thousands of dollars every year to replace those taken, and that does not include the costs associated with the reporting and efforts by the Police Department to try and recover those bikes. We also know that often time’s bicycles are used in the commission of other crimes. Those who victimize our community sometimes use bicycles to enter into the area and quickly and quietly escape the area if spotted, or after the crime is committed.
Stopping to check for a bicycle license is a great way for us to practice crime prevention and an opportunity for us to engage those members of the community who are strictly out for a pleasant bicycle ride.
With regard to the incident that occurred on July 04, 2012, your son was assaulted and his cell phone taken. Our records and telephone dispatch recordings indicated that you called our station at 9:40 pm to report that your son had come home and advised you that at approximately 9:00 pm he had been assaulted and his phone taken. You further advised the dispatcher that you wanted to come into the police station to complete a report but that your son was refusing to go. You then asked if it was okay to come in to the police station in the morning and the dispatcher advised you that we could send a car to your home for the report.
The dispatcher ended the call by advising you that we would send an officer to taken the report and also asked if you wanted us to send the squad to check your son and you declined the medical attention.
At 9:42 pm our Dispatcher called you back and spoke to you and your son advising you that if you were still willing to come to the station that that would be great, that we would still send a car if you wanted, but that due to the fact that the shift was extremely busy with the 4th of July events that it would be a while before we could get a car to you home. You acknowledge the fact that you understood that we were busy and stated that you would respond to the station for the report.
At approximately 9:57 pm you and your son responded to our police station where a report and photos were taken by our watch officer. Your son provided us with information about the fact that he recognized the two suspects from the high school and you again declined medical attention telling the watch officer that you would take you son to the emergency room for medical attention.
The report was assigned to our detectives who with the assistance of your son were able to arrest the two juvenile males that had assaulted him and stole his cell phone.
As has always been the case, we strive to make the community a safer place to live and to raise a family, by providing the highest level of service in the most effective and efficient way possible. Please don’t hesitate to call me if you would like to review the recording from either of the incidents.