August 10, 2010 by wcobserver
“It’s a Blessing”
By Delcie Kincaid
By Delcie Kincaid
The Bikers Against Child Abuse made their third visit to West Fork in the past two weeks. They didn’t come to ride the roads — they had mission. Half of the 70 Northwest Arkansas chapter members of BACA, turned out Thursday night on 17 motorcycles to do what they call a “level four intervention.”
This level is enacted to inform the neighborhood that they are and how they function. They hand out stickers, temporary tattoos and pamphlets to all households in the area.
All members of the group, which serves Benton, Washington and Madison Counties, work using nicknames, from “Bro” to “Angel” to “Soul Man” to “Fluff.” They also give nicknames to the families and children they help.
“This level is purely awareness, “ Hawkeye, president of the NWA chapter of BACA, said. “At this point, no legal action has been taken.”
This is only the second time in six years BACA has had to use level four, Hawkeye said.
On Sunday, BACA stepped it up to level two as part of their bylaws of protecting a child at risk. At this level, bikers are posted at the house of the victim 24 hours a day on six hour shifts. They will be at the house until the alleged perpetrator is arrested, according to the NWA chapter president Hawkeye.
“We want that child to look out the window and see that we are here for them,” Hawkeye said.
BACA discovered the allegations of abuse as they were updating their contact records.
Child liaison “Bro” said he called the family, who had been involved with BACA several years ago, and was told about the incident.
“They were about to call us anyway,” he said. “It was a coincidence we that we found out this way.”
Three members came to the neighborhood July 27 after they found out about the circumstances and to talk with the victim.
The officer involved in the case said he was concerned and opened up an investigation immediately after discovering the allegations.
West Fork Police Chief Mike Nelson confirmed that his office has forwarded its report to the Washington County Prosecuting Attorney’s office for review. He said the alleged incident has also been reported to the Arkansas Child Abuse Hotline.
Nelson said he was previously unfamiliar with BACA.
“In a way, it’s kind of good having them here,” he said. “It shows a different side of bikers.”
BACA is a non-profit group started in 1995. The mission of the group is to empower children so they don’t feel afraid in their environment.
Most of the BACA members don’t know the details of the pending case; they just know they are there to protect the most vulnerable victims. As one of Hawkeye’s patches on his worn out leather vest reads: “It’s not about you, it’s not about me. It’s about the children.”
“We’re not vigilantes,” Hawkeye said. “We are simply here to support an abused child.”