Safe Routes Scoop

Rolling and Patrolling

 

the community and officers are often sought out by residents. “The increased visibility and perception ofofficers by the community has really benefitted us,” says Ang.

 

In addition to the increased public perception, the bike patrol has also become a desirable assignment for officers. Lt Ang has noticed that bike patrol, which consists of one sergeant and three officers, is a duty that officers vie for and rarely complain about. Originally financed in part by a community policing grant, the bike patrol’s proven effectiveness and popularity has resulted in the unit’s continuation through the department’s regular operating budget.

 

Colts Neck

While bike patrols are most common in more densely populated areas, Sgt. Maxwell of the Colts Neck Police Department feels that the benefits of bicycle patrols can be evident in all types of communities throughout New Jersey. In a relatively rural municipality such as Colts Neck, where it is not practical to run daily bicycle details, bike patrols have proven very beneficial during special events. Colts Neck assigns two officers to bicycle patrols during special events, allowing the public to better interact with their officers. Sgt. Maxwell has noticed local residents are more open because officers seem more approachable when on bicycles.

 

 

While bicycle detail is less frequent in Colts Neck than in Ocean City, it is still a desired assignment for many officers. Officers have to request bicycle detail and complete additional training prior to beginning patrols. Because officers are travelling at a speed that allows people to interact more easily with them, relationships with the public and job tasks vary from those of traditional cruiser details.

 

“The protection offered is different,” said Maxwell. “While officers on bicycles cannot transport individuals if they get arrested or use radar to flag speeding automobiles, the community policing dimension of bicycle patrols allows for better relationships to be formed between the police department and the public.” In Colts Neck, the bikes used by the bicycle patrol have been donated by a local homeowners association, demonstrating the importance of the patrol to local residents.

 

The use of bicycle patrols offer advantages in visibility, mobility, and interaction with the community. While dense urban environments seem like the ideal location to institute an effective patrol, experiences in New Jersey have shown that bicycle patrols can offer benefits in tourist communities, such as Ocean City, and in more rural areas, such as Colts Neck. Regardless of their built environment, communities throughout New Jersey can rally

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