INDIANAPOLIS — In an attempt to continue strengthening community relations between police officers and the Indianapolis youth, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and Indy Public Safety Foundation announced the creation of "Project GEAR."
Project GEAR — Genuine Youth Engagement and Recreation — is an extension of IMPD's Youth Mountain Bike Project that was first established in 2015. According to a release from IMPD, GEAR is a mobile mountain bike skills park that aims to be a resource for youth in Indianapolis communities heavily impacted by violence or other public safety issues where they may need productive outlets and activities.
“IMPD has continued to develop new and creative ways to connect with neighbors, from virtual community meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic to expanding the Indy Police Athletic & Activities League,” Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said. “Project GEAR is an exciting next step in those efforts, and I am confident it will benefit our city’s young people while helping to build stronger relationships with the officers who serve them.”
Project GEAR will be run by IMPD officers with coordination from the Indy Public Safety Foundation. The "Shoretax" mobile mountain bike park is only the second in the United States, and, in part, made possible to the community because of significant funding from Clif Bar Baking Company of Indianapolis and SRAM. Their monetary donations helped purchase the van that transports the mobile bike park, bikes, helmets, and other supplies.
“Clif Bar was born on a bike and is continually working to sustain the communities where we live, work, and play so we felt like this was a natural connection,” Dave Tintelnot, the Clif Bar Baking Company of Indianapolis general manager, said. “We are proud to partner with Indy’s public safety agencies and make a positive impact on the Indianapolis community.”
The Youth Mountain Bike Project began with the Headquarters Mountain Bike Skills Park, located near IMPD's North District Headquarters. It includes several miles of biking trail and features that help youth learn to bike, safety and life skills. Between 2016 and 2020, Indy Park and IPSF have invested over $100,000 into the park. Now, according to to IMPD, 15 officers are trained and supporting the park's operations and relationships have been built with more than 7,000 youths to date.
“For the last several years, the Headquarters Mountain Bike Skills Park has provided a unique opportunity for North District and all IMPD officers to have positive interactions with youth in nearby neighborhoods. We look forward to the impact made possible by this mobile park being accessible to young people across Indianapolis,” IMPD Chief Randal Taylor said.