City of Pittsburg police officers are hitting the streets, as part of a newly-energized bicycle patrol unit. Six officers have been appointed to serve on the unit to provide proactive, community-based policing efforts. Funding for the new patrol unit came from the City’s public safety sales tax, enacted by Pittsburg voters in 2014.
“We were able to update our fleet with six new bikes and provide officers with necessary training and equipment,” says Interim Chief of Police Brent Narges. “These police officers will be specially trained and certified by the International Police Mountain Bike Association, and must maintain a fitness level to successfully complete quarterly assessments to join and remain on the team.”
The officers are currently on special assignment patrolling parks within the city, but the department also plans to deploy the team periodically to assist in property crime detection, and to patrol crime in case-specific regions of the city.
Narges says bicycle patrol units help to remove the physical and social barriers officers can face while driving patrol cars.
“One of the benefits of a bike patrol is community engagement,” Narges says. “Citizens are much more likely to interact with police officers on bikes than officers driving patrol vehicles.”
The department has already deployed this tactic while serving in a variety of capacities, while patrolling parades, festivals, and numerous other events, where community interaction is important.
Narges says this new unit will also add a layer of security and offer tactical advantages to officers, which are not otherwise possible with patrol cars.
“Bicycle patrol officers are able to respond to the needs of the public while employing a more stealthy approach than their vehicular counterparts,” says Narges. “These bikes can maneuver through terrain inaccessible to the regular patrol fleet. These tactics are vital in detecting and apprehending crimes in progress.”