WINONA LAKE — The Winona Lake Town Council watched a video Tuesday night at its regular monthly meeting that not only provided for interesting viewing, but also gave background for why the town’s police department is applauding the efforts of a town citizen.
Matt Light was riding his bicycle March 16 when he saw Winona Lake police officer Riley Arvanitis struggling to restrain and apprehend a suspect. Without thinking, Light got off his bicycle and helped the officer finish the arrest.
“Recently, we had an incident that happened where we had a citizen who helped out one of our officers,” said Police Chief Joe Hawn. “It was a very short pursuit, but I was very excited to be able to see somebody jump off their bike and be able to help in this quick of a time.”
Camera footage of what started out as a traffic stop showed Arvanitis at the driver’s side door, and later the suspect out of the car, being searched. According to Arvanitis, he learned the suspect was wanted on a body attachment, so he had the suspect step out of the car and began a search of his person.
“I had him put his hands on the vehicle so I could hand cuff him,” said Arvanitis. “I was patting him down, and I got to his right side and I felt a small bulge in his right pocket and what it was, I believe, he had about 12 adderall pills in a cellophane wrapper.”
Later, the video showed the suspect begin to try to flee and Arvanitis taking him to the ground. The suspect and the police officer ended up on the ground in front of the vehicle and out of the line of the camera’s sight. Light is then seen riding up on his bike and asking if the officer needed help.
The police department presented Light with a certificate, applauding his deed. Ironically, Light attended the meeting wearing his bicycle gear and said, “I appreciate it. I’m going to go ride my bike now.
In other business, the board:
- Heard Town Coordinator Craig Allebach list local upcoming events. Those events include a dedication ceremony on May 7, 4 p.m. to officially place three pieces of art along the town’s greenway.
- Approved the claims that included an expenditure that needed explanation from Public Works Director Thomas Miller. “It was for an old power washer that we couldn’t get parts for and it died,” Miller said. “In order for us to clean equipment, particularly pumps that we don’t know whether they’re going to go out or not, we have to be able to power wash them. This is a commercial unit.”