Porter County Sheriff's Patrol

Bicycles Donated In Honor of Lorraine Kirkley

Calumet Crank Club President Hal Rhea,
 Porter County Sheriff Dave Reynolds
 and Leo Frey, owner of Leo’s Bicycle & 
Foot Works in Valparaiso, display bikes
 donated to the Sheriff’s Department in 
memory of Lorraine Kirkley. (Photo provided)

VALPARAISO -- One of Lorraine Kirkley's favorite activities before she was murdered in July was to ride bicycles with her friends in the Calumet Crank Club.

So when it came time for her friends to honor the Valparaiso woman's memory, they knew she would not want a plaque placed somewhere that would gather dust.

They instead decided to donate two bicycles to the Porter County Sheriff's Department bicycle patrol unit.

Crank Club President Hal Rhea said Kirkley's friends wanted to do something related to bicycles and also wanted to thank the Sheriff's Department for putting so much effort into solving Kirkley's murder and searching for her body.

The police investigation led to the conviction of David Malinski. He was sentenced last week to 155 years in prison. Police continue their search for Kirkley's body.

The Crank Club's $1,300 donation was originally going to buy one specially designed police bicycle. But Leo's Bicycle & Foot Works in Valparaiso combined with Mongoose bicycles to offer a discount, enabling the Crank Club to buy two bicycles.

The bicycles are equipped with sirens, flashing red and blue lights and equipment packs.

With the two new bicycles, which were donated Tuesday, the department now has four bicycles for its bicycle patrol unit.

Sheriff David Reynolds said that with the expansion of the bicycle unit, he will now have night patrols in addition to the day patrols that were used last year. The night patrols will focus on stopping vandalism and thefts from vehicles in problem areas throughout Porter County.

"They (criminals) are not going to be looking for a police officer on a bike," Reynolds said.

The day patrols will continue to be used to build a relationship with children and to encourage interaction between officers and the public.

"I think the whole program last year was very successful," Reynolds said.

"We received nothing but favorable comments."

Rhea said he's glad the club could do something to remember Kirkley.

"She was our president in 1997 and was really admired and was a great member of our club," Rhea said.

"She was always full of smiles and encouraging people. ... She was just a joy to be around and we really do miss her."

The Crank Club makes donations to different organizations each year. Its annual fund-raiser is the Lakeshore Century, which on Sept. 10 will feature bicycle rides of 25, 62 or 100 miles along Lake Michigan from Porter County to as far away as New Buffalo, Mich.

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