Sheriff's Office Deploys Bike Patrol
In another forward step to enhancing community policing, Broadwater County Sheriff's Office initiated a new Bike Patrol program.
Sheriff Meehan is a strong believer in community policing and community involvement. One of the best ways to accomplish both of those goals is to have his deputies put themselves out there to make direct contact with the public. In recent months, the Sheriff's Office has been more involved in the community through projects like Lunch with a Cop in the elementary and middle schools and Coffee with a Cop, hosted by Penny Mattson at the Mint.
Deputy Tony Cordova said the Bike Patrol is a great idea, “because it gives people the opportunity to talk to us. We're more approachable when we're on the bikes.”
Last Friday's Homecoming Football game marked the deployment of the Bike Patrol in Townsend and has already garnered quite a bit of attention. “Well, the way I see it, these deputies can sit back and wait for a call to come in from dispatch; or they can get into the crowd, get involved and make a difference. Sheriff and his staff have made more of a positive impact in this community than we've seen in a very long time. These bikes might make some folks uncomfortable, but they'll get use to it. I'm a fan,” said one Homecoming game spectator.
In a study performed by a professor from Roger Williams University, officers involved with vehicle patrol averaged 3.3 community contacts in an hour. While those patrolling on bicycles averaged 7.3 contacts per hour. The study does show that both forms of patrol do about the same amount of work and certain calls give vehicle patrol a marked advantage. Bike patrols offer some compelling advantages over other forms of patrol.
A police bike patrol offers an element of surprise. Everyone is watching for deputy patrol cars and sirens. But a police bike can sneak through a crowd without much attention and has the advantage of riding through what would be seemingly inaccessible patrol car entry points. The element of surprise is a real game changer. Hundreds of cities nationwide are reviving police bike patrols and have realized huge benefits in their community. Thanks to their stealth-like advantage, bike patrols often ride right up on criminal activity while it's occurring.
The cost of each basic bike package is $1300. After equipping the bikes with the necessary patrol equipment, including a light package ($550), a bag ($58), rack ($329.95), and a helmet ($55), and the bike patrol uniforms ($577.10); the project's total cost is $5163.09. The Sheriff's Office Command staff, Sheriff Meehan, Undersheriff Harris and Captain Seth Wenzel each contributed their equipment allowance; Meehan also contributed his clothing allowance. In all, Command Staff contributed $1700 toward the patrol bike project. In addition, the Sheriff's Office is accepting community donations. As of September 19, there has been $3000 in promised community donations. The Command Staff contributions and Community donations funded $4700 to the project.
Broadwater County Bike Patrol Deputies will be present during the upcoming Fall Fest in October.