Bicycles are proving to be a healthier mode of transportation for both the rider and the environment. The Cape Girardeau Police Department and Southeast Missouri State University’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) are also finding bicycles to be a more tactical and convenient form of police patrol.
Doug Richards, Director of DPS, said officers began bicycle patrol on Southeast’s campus mid-July. There are five officers qualified for the particular type of patrol, using bicycles donated by the Police Department.
The bicycles are able to go places that patrol cars can’t, Richards said. The bicycles are fully equipped for police work, including lights, sirens, and gears that allow for continuous shifting.
“[Officers] still maintain full police powers and full police commissions,” Richards said.
Bicycle patrol is a different type of patrol, Richards said, creating a higher visibility of officers and allowing more personal interaction with students, faculty, staff and visitors on campus.
Community Service Officer Joey Hann is one of four bicycle patrolmen for the Cape Police Department. Hann said bicycle patrol has been a long-standing part of the Police Department’s contribution to keeping Cape safe.
Officers patrol on bicycles primarily during special events, including the SEMO District Fair and parades. Officers also patrol the Cape LaCroix Recreation Traill and local streets, Hann said.
Local bicycle store Cyclewerx provided the Police Department with bikes designed specifically for police work and officers’ needs.
The only major disadvantage to bicycle patrol is the mobility issue, Hann said. It takes longer period time to respond to a call, and when an arrest is made, the bicycle patrolman is forced to call a patrol unit for transportation of an individual in custody.
Hann said the advantages to patrolling on a bicycle include stealth, approachability and the community service connotations it represents.
“People see you, and flag you down to talk to you,” Hann said.
The added bonuses that come with bicycle patrol included less money spent on gas and less wear and tear on patrol cars.
“It’s a more community-friendly type of police patrol,” Richards said.
By Amity Downing, Multimedia Journalist
Public Information Office Summer 2012 Intern