HIS BICYCLE PATROL IS A GIFT, AND ALSO A NEW POLICE TOOL THE HARTFORD COURANT -- Resident State Trooper Sgt. Lawrence Pagan thought a bicycle would would be the perfect, stealthy tool to patrol the center of town this summer.But when the Colchester Police Commission told him there wasn't enough manpower for local police to start a bicycle patrol and that there were no policies for such a program, Pagan took $900 of his own money and bought a bicycle for the town's resident state trooper operation. Over the weekend, Trooper Troy Anderson, Colchester's other resident trooper, began tooling around town on two wheels, wearing the bright blue and gold biking uniform. Anderson, who recently completed a police bicycle course, patrolled the center on Friday and rode his new vehicle in the Memorial Day parade on Sunday."I couldn't believe it," Anderson said of Pagan's gift. "When he said go ahead and order it, I thought it was because we had the funding."Anderson also bought several hundred dollars worth of equipment in order to start riding.Money wasn't the issue for the town police, Colchester Police Commission Chairman George White said. It was a matter of manpower."We don't feel, at this point in time, we can sacrifice taking an officer off the road to ride the bicycle. When you only have one guy on the road, you can't take him out of his car to be on a bicycle," White said.Although the police commission did not approve the bicycle program for the local officers, Pagan received permission from his commanding officer at Troop K to start bicycling.Pagan supervises the five Colchester officers and is responsible for their day-to-day operations. The police commission is responsible for setting policies and for the discipline of the local officers.In recent months, three officers have left, forcing the town to ask for two other resident state troopers to augment the force. The commission is trying to hire more local officers."At a point in time when we are up to full strength, we will look at a bicycle program," White said. "We have more many other things that are at a higher priority."In the meantime, having Anderson on the bicycle should help with patrol efforts in the busiest areas of town."I think it's great. Along with a walking patrol, it is a good means to be able to support and promote community policing," First Selectwoman Jenny Contois said. "It's good when you can communicate with people on a one-to-one basis."Not only will the bicycle be a good public relations tool, it will help Anderson patrol the recreation field and the center of town where vandalism, theft and even drug use have been a problem, he said."How are you going to do that in a cruiser when they see you a mile away? I think we can make some good pinches for narcotics and larceny," Anderson said. "You can sneak up on a group and they have no idea you're coming."Anderson, who is on vacation this week, is nursing a sprained wrist after he flipped over the handle bars during the parade Sunday while waving to the crowd. He jumped back on the bicycle, but later went for x-rays. He'll be back on his bicycle in about 10 days.Pagan is modest about his donation and doesn't want a fuss made over it. He donated the bicycle to the resident state trooper program in honor of his mother, Helen "Dotie" Edmonds Pagan, of Colchester, who died in December.He said that after 23 years in police work, it's just his way of giving back to the community."I wanted to do something nice. It's important to give back to the community," said Pagan, who has been Colchester's resident state trooper for about a year.He said he didn't ask the state police for the bicycle because he thought it would take too long to process the request and he wanted the bicycle available this summer.Pagan, the Colchester police union, Officer Rob Suchecki's family and Wild Geese purchased 60 bicycle helmets to pass out to children during a bicycle rodeo June 10.Lt. Mark Coleman said he's never seen another trooper donate that kind of equipment in the 27 years he's been with the department."[Pagan] is a very committed, very dedicated individual, and he feels very strongly about giving back," Coleman said. "He wanted to see it happen while he's in town and he said money isn't everything."

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