OUPD is firmly committed to police bikes as a basic component of our patrol function. Police bicycle training is presented to all new officers as part of their basic academy, and ninety percent of our commissioned officers have completed the training and are qualified to ride on patrol.
Having developed the ability to keep an officer on bike patrol twenty-four hours daily year-round (weather permitting), the department solicited volunteers for full- time assignment to this specialty, and eight officers were identified who now comprise our bicycle team. Wanting to provide the best possible equipment to these officers, the department has recently acquired eight specially equipped GARY FISHER "JOSHUA X-1" 24-gear mountain bicycles, and issued them to the team members.
Special uniforms and equipment have also been procured that enable these officers to ride in all but the most extreme weather conditions (some of which, like icy pavement, make bicycling too dangerous). Assignment of one officer per shift to ride a bike instead of driving a patrol vehicle reduces fleet vehicle and operation costs, allowing the department to get more benefit from a limited budget.
Our current training program is a three-day school during which 80% of the time is spent actually riding bikes. The school is certified by the State of Oklahoma Council on Law Enforcement for Education and Training (CLEET). Our certified instructors train police officers from other departments across Oklahoma in addition to our own personnel.
We have taken our school "on the road" by invitation to train officers at the University of Missouri as well. Two of our instructors have been nationally trained and certified by the International Police Mountain Bike Association.
Our bike officers have repeatedly demonstrated their value as a rapid response resource at football games, concerts, and numerous other special events on campus. We have developed excellent working relations with the bike squads at the Norman Police Department and Cleveland County Sheriff's Office (many of whose officers we trained in our school), and regularly ride with them in teams for events where the agencies have mutual interests and overlapping jurisdictions.
Our bike officers have also assisted at and participated in special events including parades, cross-country rides, air shows, and holiday event security across the central Oklahoma area working with a number of other agencies.
Our officers have talked to groups, such as elementary school classes and scout units, regarding safe bicycling and we have participated in and organized bike rodeos for the community. Officers are frequently approached by students, faculty, and staff who bike and are interested in our equipment, our tactics and our activities, and it is not at all unusual for a continuing relationship to develop out of a casual approach and question.
The members of the bike squad keep up with technical developments, and are constantly trying new and improved equipment and accessories. As police biking becomes more common, more specialized equipment designed to meet law enforcement and public safety needs becomes available, and we want to ensure that our bike officers have the best available bikes and accessories.
We want to provide every qualified officer with his/her own assigned bicycle, and encourage those who wish to do so to ride them to and from work. Through heightened visibility and frequent presence, our officers will promote safe bicycle use throughout the community.
We hope to attain national certification for our police bike school and instructors so that our outreach training will provide maximum benefit to other departments and officers and encourage them to develop and expand their own police bicycle programs.
Police on Bikes are the wave of the future; a logical component of Community-Oriented Policing, bicycles offer immense benefit in terms of economy, efficiency, effectiveness, and positive public contact. The community gains many of the advantages of a "beat officer" without the loss of mobility that dedicating an officer to foot patrol causes, and the officers are able to interact with and learn from the community. We expect to have University Police Officers on bikes for the foreseeable future!
Implementing and maintaining effective police bike patrol takes more than just cops and bikes. The officers must have the best available bicycles and training to use them effectively under the environmental, traffic, and situational conditions that are encountered on patrol. Additionally, there must be an adequate support structure, including such things as bike racks on patrol cars, maintenance training and equipment to conduct routine preventive maintenance, and special equipment and uniforms to ensure the officers' comfort and safety while on their bikes at all hours in all seasons. The efforts and the costs are considerable, but we feel they're well-spent and return great benefit.
If you have questions about the OUPD bike patrol program, email OUPD BIKE PATROL.
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