NAUGATUCK, Conn. (WTNH) — Naugatuck police officer Mike Deely gets to do what he loves everyday — protect and serve and ride his bicycle. But these days, the member of the police department’s bike patrol squad is getting praise for going above and beyond the call of duty.
Each weekday this summer, he’s been generating buzz for a different kind of beat, one his police department didn’t even know he was doing. Next to the basketball court at the Joseph Healy Rec Area across from the Naugatuck Green, you’ll often find him off of his bike to make sure kids can ride theirs.
He’s known as the “go-to” guy for kids who experience a problem with their bicycles. Officer Deely is there to fix them.
“He put grease on my bike chain,” said Connor, a little boy who loves zipping around on his bike. He can do it now that Officer Deely helped get his bike chain back in gear.
“He’s very nice for doing it,” one little girl said.
Officer Deely has also spent his own money to buy an equipment bag and supplies to help patch up flat tires or new chains to replace old or defective ones the kids may be riding around on.
Why does Officer Deely do it?
“I want to make sure that they’re riding safely down the street,” he said. “That everything’s working.”
But, it’s also about a lot more than safety. Officer Deely wants the kids to know that he, and other police officers, care about them.
“Our mission statement is getting out there, talking to people, making bonds,” said Officer Deely.
But, one 18 year-old told us police officers don’t have the best reputation among some teenagers in town.
“Most police officers are like scary,” said 18 year-old Anthony Lopez.
However, after hanging out at the rec area and seeing Officer Deely talking with kids and volunteering to help fix their bicycles, Lopez is changing his tune.
“He’s changing my perception of police because now I know if I talk to them they might be nice guys like my boy, Officer Deely,” Lopez said.
In Naugatuck, the hope is Officer Deely’s extra handiwork will pay off when it comes to the building up trust between young people and police down the road.