Correction Nov. 23: This article has been updated to correct when police are donating the bikes. It was Nov. 20. We apologize for the error.
The River Forest Police Department plans to put “cycle” in “recycle” by donating bikes to a Chicago nonprofit.
For the fourth year, the police department will donate bicycles that have accumulated in the storage cage over time. They plan to bring them to Working Bikes, a Chicago-based non-profit organization that ships bicycles to international bike projects; repairs and donates bicycles locally to individuals and families in Chicago; or fixes them up and sells them in the organization’s storefront.
The village board approved the donation last week in a 5-0 vote. Trustee Erika Bachner did not attend.
Police Chief Jim O’Shea said about 20 bicycles are cleared out of the storage cage each year.
Throughout the year, the police department obtains bicycles and related property that are lost, mislaid or abandoned and therefore have no evidentiary value, he explained in a memo to the village board. The department has no further use for these bicycles and the storage cage where the bicycles are kept is at capacity, he added.
O’Shea said bicycles were donated November 20. He said the police department learned about Working Bikes by word of mouth. Prior to the partnership with Working Bikes, bicycles were donated to local organizations, such as Hepzibah Children’s Organization in Oak Park.
According to the Working Bikes website, the organization gives donated bicycles new life by redistributing them as tools of empowerment in local and global communities.
“Since its inception in 1999, the amazing community of Working Bikes volunteers, staff, partners and supporters have enabled new life for 100,000 bicycles across the globe and tens of thousands here in Chicago. Over 100,000 people have been empowered to access resources and opportunities that otherwise could have been out of reach – reducing waste, lessening pollution and improving health in the process. Working Bikes believes that bicycles are the most reliable, sustainable and environmentally friendly transportation option available and is working towards a world where everyone has access to bicycle transportation, whether in Africa or Chicago,” the website said.
In addition to bicycles, O’Shea said evidence and turned-in property are kept in the storage cage. He added that police officials attempt to contact the owner in the case of turned-in property. Evidence is destroyed once a case is disposed of or is past the statute of limitations.