St. Louis Police and partners give away bikes in North City to teach valuable lesson

ST. LOUIS (KMOV) – A large crowd filled the parking lot at the White Castle at the corner of North Kingshighway and Natural Bridge Avenue Thursday.

“I’m feeling good,” Maria Harris says sitting on her new bike.

“I wanted a pink bike but I just wanted a bike very badly,” Desiree Stiles said with a smirk.

Forty brand new bikes with helmets and bike locks were donated by this White Castle location, Target, The African American Business and Contractors Association (AABCA) and St. Louis Police.

The hope is kids ride away with a message.

“This is a start to get them to see the bigger picture,” Mother Brittney Jones explained. “I don’t think cops want to kill us, hurt us, and bring us down. It’s their job. They have to protect and serve. If you do wrong, they have to do their job. It’s eye-opening for me.”

“We can’t have this polarized society where it’s you versus me,” Jeff White with AABCA shared. “It’s us. This is America. We’re going to fight for it and that means fighting right here at Union and Natural Bridge.

The giveaway happened in one of the most crime-ridden communities in our region.

This summer, St. Louis Police are working longer shifts and patrolling more often to help cut down crime.

Police say it’s making a difference but not all crime can be prevented such as the shooting that killed a man and hurt another in North City Tuesday evening.

White said he appreciates that commitment.

“I’m ecstatic. I’m so happy. I’ve met some wonderful people along the way like Officer Jasmine, Officer James. I’m excited to show them off. They aren’t bad people. They leave their house with a target on their back, and we are here to get that target off their back,” White said.

For some kids, this moment is more than saddling up a new bike.

Just ask Desiree Stiles who has thoughts of following in these officers’ steps.

“I just want to be one. I see them stopping people from doing bad things and I want to do that too,” Stiles said.

Organizers said they want to hold more events in the future, including a backpack drive before school starts back up. Details for when and where you still need to be sorted out.

In the meantime, keep an eye out for Operation Polar Cops. This is another tool the department uses to build relationships and keep kids cool.

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