Both the Hawthorne police and a group of needy kids cleaned up over the holidays when the department cleared its impound lot and gave away a dozen bicycles.
The police started an adopt-a-bike program this year to get rid of the surplus of abandoned and stolen bicycles they've collected. With the help of Royal Cyclery and International Auto Body, two local businesses that helped refurbish the bikes, the department gave 12 bicycles to underprivileged children. One recipient was a sixth-grade boy who had two bicycles stolen from him earlier this year.
"We wanted to give the bikes to kids in need rather than throw them away," said Capt. Jan Ogden.
Some of the bikes are used as evidence, but the ones that are abandoned are usually auctioned off or thrown away if they go unclaimed for six months. Each bicycle recipient was given a helmet and the city of Hawthorne paid the 75-cent registration fees to make sure the bikes didn't end up unclaimed with the police again.
The program was originally intended as a holiday gift to the community, but Ogden said its success has triggered a lot of interest, and she hopes the police will be able to give away bikes at least twice per year.
"The program gave the officers a chance to do something nice for the public," Ogden said.