Monday, December 6, 2010

Mt. Vernon District bike patrol

The Hybla Valley Patch recently published an article about the Mt. Vernon District Police Station bike patrol
For ten years, the bike unit has patrolled the Hyba Valley area on two wheels instead of four. The program started as a community policing arm known as the neighborhood patrol unit.

Bike officers are usually at the beginning of their career and are "more aggressive" than car patrol officers, Wall said. Normally, they don't respond to calls for robberies or car accidents, he said. Instead, they gather intelligence, interview residents and patrol neighborhoods.

"The guys do it more for the freedom of it," Watts said.

The bike officers know the lay of the land, including every pedestrian short cut and escape route. They are able navigate areas cars can't. And, they're quiet. They can sneak up on a criminal who may be unaware of their presence.

The unit comprises eight officers and Watts, their supervisor. They all work the same shift, breaking into pairs to patrol different areas. When a call is made, they congregate at the scene. They behave like a bike band of brothers - simultaneously supporting and ribbing each other.

But, there are shortfalls to the job. The bike officers are more vulnerable than car patrol officers and can only work up to a speed of around eight miles per hour, which makes it nearly impossible to stop a car. On the flip side, they are able to spend more time outside, they get great exercise and they gain a different perspective on police work, Wall said.

They also have the time to dig into the community's long-term problems, such as trespassing and homelessness, said Captain David Moyer.

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  Bike to Work Day 2015 at Wiehle Station

  Transportation choices

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