Police hope to gain trust of Rockford teens through bike repair program

Behind the Badge

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — A group of local girls are learning new skills by repairing bicycles.

But that’s not the only thing they say they are fixing.

With the help of local officers from the Rockford Police Department, they are doing their part in fixing a fractured relationship.

According to The United Way, 40 percent of the city’s urban youth say they don’t trust the police.

Officer Charles Keen sees new ways he and his fellow men and women in blue can make a difference, through the Rolling Strong program.

The program hopes to engage at-risk youth by teaching them life skills through bike repair.

Students learn to diagnose, tune-up and fix broken bikes donated by the police department and the community. Those bikes are then sold back to the community.

“We just try to work with kids to develop a sense of accomplishment in them. We interact with them as a police officer to show them we’re just human beings just like you. We’re like your parents and we just care about you,” Keen explained.

Police hope that by the end of the program, not only will each girl have their own good-as-new bike but develop new friendships with our men and women in uniform.

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