By STEVEN VIERA
SOUTH RIVER – The South River Police Department held its 19th annual Bicycle Rodeo and Public Safety Day on Saturday, June 4, to promote safety to children as well as strengthen ties with the community it serves.
“It is also a great opportunity to have our police officers interact with the many children who attend this event,” Community Policing Officer Mario Pinto, who organized this year’s event, said. “One of our biggest mottoes is prevention through education. We would rather dedicate countless hours with events like this one educating the community [rather than] talking about a tragedy that could have very well been prevented.”
According to Pinto, overall attendance averaged about 1,000 to 1,200 people throughout the day. He also pointed out that over 300 kids registered their bikes and entered to win a raffle for a free bike, which is well above average participation from previous years.
The main attraction of the day was a BMX stunts show performed by Dialed Action Sports Team, which Pinto noted received largely positive feedback.
Attendees could also meet with representatives of various police agencies from around the area who brought some of their specialized equipment. For example, the South Brunswick and Perth Amboy police departments both brought motorcycles, the Sayreville Police Department brought its fully customized lead car, the New Jersey State Police brought its NorthSTAR helicopter, as well as many more.
In addition, the event featured a DJ and numerous inflatable rides. Local business, such as the South River Wawa and East Brunswick Stop & Shop, set up stalls where they interacted with the public and gave away free samples. Since the Bicycle Rodeo and Public Safety Day is totally dependent on donations to operate, Pinto praised the participating businesses for being so supportive.
“We were fortunate that we had a really good turnout, not just with the kids and the community, but all the agencies I reached out to over the past few months,” Pinto said. “It went off without a hitch.”
The South River Police Department also holds a basketball free-throw contest, junior police academy and other events to strengthen ties with kids from the community and the public at large.
Contact Steven Viera at firstname.lastname@example.org.