Military veterans to patrol Detroit on bicycles
Travis Peters volunteered to serve his country, and is now doing the same for his city.
Peters, who served in the U.S. Army during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, is one of 21 military veterans volunteering for “Project Peace Peddlers,” a new bicycle patrol squad announced Thursday at Detroit Police headquarters.
The volunteers, who will work with DPD Neighborhood Police officers, will ride through neighborhoods, the riverfront and other areas not easily accessible by other vehicles, said Peters, who conceived the initiative.
“We’ll provide a visible presence,” he said. “We get to serve our city with the same honor, valor and dignity” as they did with their military service.
“We will be reporting on quality of life issues that include ... things such as stray animals, utility emergencies such as downed power lines and ruptured gas mains or water main breaks, safe routes to and from school, unboarded abandoned dwellings,” Peters said. “I’m excited; this is such a great cause.”
The initiative will kick off Monday, with the volunteers set to patrol the 59th annual Ford Fireworks.
The $19,000 outlay for the patrol’s Trek mountain bikes came from the city’s CB Patrol fund, Police Chief James Craig said.
“This is an idea that came from the community,” Craig said. “The CB patrol has been an overwhelming success, and now veterans of our military are giving back to make our city a better place, addressing everything from crime to quality of life. That’s what I call community engagement.”
In addition to patrolling neighborhoods, the Peace Peddlers will check on businesses that have signed up for Project Green Light, an initiative that sends live high-definition surveillance video feeds to the Detroit Police real-time crime center.
“As the Peace Peddlers are in different parts of the city, they’ll be escorted by Neighborhood Police officers,” Craig said.
The program may eventually extend to the winter months, Craig said. “When I was in Cincinnati, our bike patrols ran year-round,” he said.
Craig said 21 veterans have signed up for the program so far. “I expect that to grow,” he said.