Police Volunteer Saves Abandoned Bikes, Many go to African Villages


Police Volunteer Don Erickson has been picking up abandoned bikes in Bellevue for 20 years

On a recent rainy weekday, Bellevue Police volunteer Don Erickson climbs into his blue Ford Ranger pickup and heads out on a search for two bicycles abandoned in some bushes next to Highland Middle School. The retired Boeing engineer has gone on many such missions over his 21 years as a police volunteer. Many of the bikes Erickson rescues are repaired and sent to African villages.

A Bellevue resident since 1960, Don has been retrieving abandoned bicycles and delivering them to the police evidence room over much of his time with the department. “Bikes can be anywhere”, Don says. “One time, we had one in the bottom of a canyon. I had to make a hook on the end of a rope and throw it down there to get it, just like fishing!” The serial numbers of the bikes are checked against a database of stolen bikes, and then held for 30 days. If nobody claims them, the bikes are picked up by a charity called “the village bicycle project“, which repairs the bikes and sends them to Africa.

In just the past year, 45 bikes picked up by Erickson have been sent to villages in Ghana and Sierra Leone, where they are put to daily use by villagers.

“when they get a bike like that, it’s like getting a new Cadillac”, said Don, who designed jet foils and struts as an industrial engineer for Boeing for 34 years.

Erickson could only recall a couple of times that he was able to reunite a bike with it’s rightful owner. “It’s sad that people don’t take the time to get the information off the bike so police can identify it”, says Don. His advice: “they need to get that information down, particularly the serial number. That way if the bike is stolen, police can contact you.”

Today, Don finds the two bikes he is looking for – a couple of black BMX-style bikes. “These are really good bikes for doing tricks on”, he observes.

The Bellevue Police Department’s award-winning volunteer program provides a number of critical services to the Police Department and community. Volunteers staff community substations in the Crossroads and Factoria neighborhoods and provide disabled parking enforcement and other supporting functions. Individuals interested in volunteer opportunities with the Police Department can learn more by visiting the Bellevue Police Department’s website.

Police volunteer Don Erickson retrieves an abandoned bicycle. Next stop: the police evidence room, and possibly Africa.

Registration For Spring 2018 Community Police Academy Now Open

Today, the Bellevue Police opened online registration for the spring 2018 community police academy. The Community Academy is a 12-week program for Bellevue residents and those who work in Bellevue to become acquainted with how their police department operates. On completion of the academy, graduates will have gained a better understanding of the law enforcement role in the criminal justice system, and an appreciation for the many challenges facing law enforcement in today’s complex society.

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Training Officer Raphael Park instructs at the Community Police Academy

The Community Academy is a primarily classroom-based, with hands-on lessons about law enforcement about patrol procedures, firearms, 911 communications, narcotics, K-9, major crimes investigations, major accident investigations, defensive tactics and hostage negotiations.

The spring 2018 community academy begins on March 1st, and takes place every Thursday evening from 7-10 p.m. until May 17th. Registration is now open, click here to apply.

Bellevue Bicycle Officer Saves Christmas For Theft Victim

A Bellevue bike cop saved the day for one theft victim this past week. On Wednesday, December 20th, Bellevue Bicycle Officer Amir Mousavi was on routine bicycle patrol in downtown Bellevue when he was contacted by a man who had just been the victim of a theft.  The man told Officer Mousavi that his wallet was missing and that he had just received a text from his bank stating the someone was using his credit card at a nearby grocery store. The victim also told the Officer that a large amount of cash was inside the wallet.

Bellevue Bike Officer Amir Mousavi

Officer Mousavi raced down to the store on his patrol bike, and was able to locate the suspect after talking to the store manager and learning that the suspect was trying to purchase a large amount of gift cards with the victim’s credit cards.  Officer Mousavi arrested the suspect, and the victim’s wallet was recovered.  The suspect was booked into jail for two outstanding warrants, and charges were forwarded to the prosecutor’s office.

About the Bellevue Police Department’s bicycle unit:  The Bellevue Police Bicycle Unit was reinstated in April 2016 after a five year hiatus. The Bicycle Unit strives to make a difference in the lives of our community members by focusing on quality of life issues.  The Bicycle Unit focuses their efforts on parks, malls, shopping centers, nature trails, park and ride lots, and high pedestrian traffic areas such as the downtown core. The Bicycle Unit uses education, enforcement and outreach to make a positive impact on problems that arise in a community.  In 2016, bike Officers made over 1,200 contacts and 150 arrests.