Racine Top Cop Keeps Community’s Wheels Turning
Top Cop and Racine Police Officer Tim Cisler is using his skills on the bicycle to connect with young people in Racine, and teaching them a set of skills while he is at it. As a Community Policing Unit House Officer, Officer Cisler works out of a Racine Police Department-owned house in a Racine neighborhood where he can respond to crimes quickly but also build a relationship with community members. Through his unofficial bike program, Officer Cisler helps get bikes to kids in the area, teaches them how to maintain and fix the bikes, and organizes neighborhood rides. Read the story from The Journal Times:
One Racine police officer is taking community policing up to the next gear by teaching neighborhood kids how to fix their bikes, and in some cases, finding them one to ride.
Community Policing Unit House Officer Tim Cisler said it’s something that’s in his personal wheelhouse.
“Some officers are good at sports. I’m terrible at sports but I can ride the heck out of a bike,” Cisler said. “I figure if there is a need to be met, let’s do it.”…
“There are a lot of kids and they ride bikes everywhere,” Cisler said. “When I was a kid, I covered all sorts of ground with a bike. These kids cover a lot of ground in this neighborhood and get a lot of flats.”
The bikes always need repairs, brakes, chains off the sprocket and hundreds of patches over a summer. Cisler teaches the kids how to fix their own bikes.
“His favorite thing to say is ‘fix it,’ ” said Mitchell Middle School student Kamari Andrews. “Being a bike mechanic is harder than it looks.”
Andrews, 12, had to walk everywhere before he ran into Officer Cisler. Now he takes care of a full-sized purple Iron Man mountain bike as an incentive for positive behavior at the COP house.
Andrews admits he’s seen crime in his neighborhood and stays out of trouble.
“I know who the gang members are. If I see them, I jump on my bike,” Andrews said.
Following a community service project with the kids, Cisler packed up his bike and led a group on a 10-mile bike ride.
Fratt Elementary School student Ismael Morales, 10, now has an 18-inch green BMX bike and smiled when he remembered the trip.
“It was fun. We went fishing and stopped for lunch at a taco place that was really good,” Morales said.
On Thursday, Cisler showed Andrews a damaged inner tube, fixed it and then taught Morales how to repair the bike tire[…]
The payoff for Cisler is keeping the kids on the straight and narrow.
“It’s about creating young leaders in the neighborhood,” Cisler said. “There’s one boy who we figured out was really good with his hands and fixing things. He’s now got his own tool box and if I’m not around, kids go to him.”
Last month, Andrews joined the Police Department’s Explorers, an organization for youth interested in law enforcement careers, to learn about Cisler’s job, with the hope of becoming a police officer himself one day.
“I see what regular police officers do on the street,” Andrews said. “It’s a lot of work.”
Cisler is proud of him, but he’s trying to stay humble.
“He’s very observant. Even if he doesn’t become a police officer, he’ll be a good witness,” Cisler said.
Officer Cisler is sharing a healthy hobby that young people in Racine can embrace, and exposing them to a possible career in law enforcement. Keep up the good work officer, and stay safe!