Thursday, July 9, 2009

MPD "Helmet Heroes" Perform Youth Outreach...

Photos By John Hoff

A couple days ago, Officer Mark Klukow and his partner Mike E. Kirchen stopped by a residence on the Jordan Pond and sat down to a dinner of bison steak and substantive conversation about neighborhood issues.

Klukow and Kirchen are "helmet heroes" involved in a special MPD program that distributes bike helmets to kids. The helmets come from...

...North Memorial Hospital, through Easton Bell Sports, and are paid for by a grant from the Ciresi Foundation. This foundation is funded by the Cerisi Law Firm. Recently, Ciresi Foundation donated $11,000 for the helmets, and for supplies to run this program and get the helmets to kids. The positive contact the officers have with the youth is part of early intervention efforts to create positive community relations with young people in North Minneapolis, and help the youth have a good attitude about the police.

Klukow explained the helmets cost $10 apiece and they recently distributed 237 of 240 helmets. However, an additional 120 were delivered recently, so it's not like the cops are out of ammunition, as it were. The program sort of started as a brainstorm between Klukow and Kirchen when the cops--who are sort of what you might call "school cops" according to Klukow--found out bike helmets could be obtained for $10 apiece and they started kicking around ideas to fund some kind of program.

Helmets are not commonly worn by youth in North Minneapolis, but the team is trying to change that. Klukow said in Southwest Minneapolis almost all the youth wear helmets, with some rare kids going without. In North Minneapolis, it's exactly the opposite, with hardly any of the youth having headgear...except, perhaps, those reached by Klukow and Kirchen.

The helmets also come with a sticker to reveal their "bike cop" origins. If, in the future, the youth get "caught with their helmet on" this summer, they might win something. For all kinds of details about the bike cop program, check out their blog which uses (woo hoo!) blogspot as a platform, click here.

In the course of my interview with Klukow, my son Alex asked how much the stickers cost. Klukow said he didn't know the answer, but the stickers were surprisingly costly. Later, after I affixed one of the stickers to my computer right next to my NoMi sticker--a special place, indeed--I noticed the stickers were highly reflective. Perfect for a kid's bike helmet to add just a bit more safety.

If you see the "helmet heroes" in your part of NoMi, be sure to let them know when you're having barbeque. They like that. Oh, and by the way, Klukow and his partner thought the bison steak was just as good as beef and said you couldn't really tell the difference. If any readers are wanting the same kind of delicious bison steak enjoyed by notorious man-hottie Mark Klukow, click on this link to find out about North Loop local foods store Local D'Lish.


Michael said...

Thank you, Johnny N, for this great post and your support of the Bike Cops for Kids program in general! I've been amazed by the expansiveness of this program and the tireless efforts of Officers Kirchen and Klukow in doggedly bringing such a basic, yet innovative program to NOMI.

Can't thank you enough for your efforts, and can't thank Officers Klukow and Kirchen enough either! Thanks for the post and update.

Anonymous said...

WOW! What a great program. Thanks for the link to their blog also, they look like they are enjoying their jobs and really helping out the community.

Jordan Neighbor said...

It was sooo cute to see that little girl run and grab her helmet and come back outside with it, and the Officers gave her the sticker to wear... then she ran in and got her handcuffs too!

So dang cute!

I love NoMi!

Anonymous said...

How can a parent buy these helmets for their children? Who would we contact?

Johnny Northside said...

You can buy a helmet at any sporting goods store, but to contact these officers use the link to their blog which is included in the story.