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Police Dept. Receives New Bikes to Honor Fallen Officer

SCRANTON — Three weeks ago, Scranton Patrolman John Wilding died in the line of duty while chasing three robbery suspects. Now, his memory is living on th...

SCRANTON -- Three weeks ago, Scranton Patrolman John Wilding died in the line of duty while chasing three robbery suspects.

Now, his memory is living on through the city's five new police bicycles donated by Toyota of Scranton.

Patrolman Wilding was known for riding his bike through Scranton's west side.

"Officer Wilding was a bike officer, a community police officer and he died doing what he loved to do," said Chief Carl Graziano, Scranton Police.

Each bike costs about $2,000 and features decals to honor the fallen officer.

"Now, John will ride with his fellow officers forever," added Scranton Mayor Bill Courtright.

Chief Graziano says the department's bikes were about 10 years old and showing their age.

With bikes on the force, the chief says officers are much more approachable and help foster a better relationship in the community.

"When a car pulls up to an intersection, the public is not going to come up and talk to them," explained Graziano. "But when there's an officer on a bicycle standing next to them, they're more likely to come up and engage in a conversation and that's where you get that strong police community partnership."

"They can be very mobile," said Greg Gagorik of Toyota of Scranton. "They can get to locations in an emergency very quickly, but be very visible to our community and I think that's really important to them."

On top of the police bicycles, this is also the sixth fundraiser for Patrolman Wilding's family, supported by the wives of the Scranton Police Department. Over those sixth fundraisers, organizers say they've sold more than 3,000 t-shirts honoring Wilding.

"It's very emotional for most of us," said Mary Ellen Condron, a wife of a Scranton Police officer. "It's great support. We didn't imagine we'd have this much support. We've had to reorder supplies several times now. We've sold out of signs, shirts, everything a couple different times."

This isn't the first time Toyota of Scranton has helped out the city's police department. The dealership donated a police cruiser back in May.