SAN ANGELO, Texas — In the small town of Ballinger, family is everything - and that mantra extends out into the community.
It is the same mantra the Ballinger Police Department lives by every day when officers go out to serve and protect their community.
For the police, it all starts with the children of Ballinger. Which is why the BPD is starting a new program to allow children to feel comfortable when talking to police.
BPD Patrolman and Public Information Officer Suzanne Torres is calling the new program, MyCycle Bicycle Registration, which gives officers a chance to connect with the children.
"We wanted to make sure that the parents felt good, that we were trying to help them out and trying to protect their kids," Torres said. "As well as the kids feeling safe enough to come and talk to when they feel like they need to."
The program allows children to register their bikes as if they were cars and is to help combat the multiple reports of stolen bikes in Ballinger.
So, if a bike is ever reported, stolen the police will have the information gathered and will make it easier to track down. It’s the department's way of making sure the children know they can always go to the police for help.
"It is very important for the police department and for myself as a patrolman to make sure that the kids are respected," Torres said. "Their views are important and their feelings are important and that they understand that we are here for them."
With all negative attention, law enforcement officers have been getting around the country, Torres and the rest of the men and women and uniform want the entire community to understand they are here to serve and protect.
For her, it all starts with the children who look up to them as role models.
"They are the future and that we hope that they allow us to be a part of that future," Torres said.
The MyCycle Bicycle Registration Program starts at 9 a.m. Aug. 15 at the Ballinger Police Department headquarters, 106 N. 9th St. The first 50 children to show up will receive a free bicycle lock.