LORIAN, Ohio — For weeks, high school football players have been practicing and preparing for the season. For some ninth-grade football players at Lorain High School, that meant walking up to an hour a day to make it to practice.
Some players were walking miles from across town.
“This is a huge geographic school district,” said Coach Dave McFarland.
Joe Hill-Davis and Robert Brown were among the players relying on their own two feet to get to the football field.
“Sometimes I would come to practice 10 minutes late. I would ask my mom to go places, I didn’t have transportation because she was at work and my dad is out of town doing work,” said Lorain football player Robert Brown.
But that changed last week, and the change started with Lorain K-9 Officer Kyle Shawver on patrol. One of the coaches told him kids were walking miles because of transportation problems.
Shawver took the problem to Sgt. Jacob Morris, who discovered the department had several old, abandoned, unclaimed bikes in evidence. Morris reached out to the Lorain County Community Action Agency’s Bike Shop, a place where students and teenagers learn to repair bikes.
“They said listen, 'We will service the bikes and make sure they are in good working order.' We wanted to make sure we were giving the kids safe bikes,” said Morris.
Last week, six players were given bikes, including Hill-Davis and Brown.
“It’s a win-win,” said Officer Miguel Baez, Lorain Police Department Community Resource Officer.
“I’m grateful I am able to get to school on time and will be able to make it to practice and get home safe,” said Davis-Hill.
McFarland said this is about more than a bike and football.
“We’re trying to teach our young men to be good citizens, and own their behavior. Now they can control being to school on time, to football on time,” added McFarland.
The Lorain Police Department has been emphasizing community policing for the last year and this is one way of showing the community what community policing really means.
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