The purpose of the Bicycle Patrol Unit is to perform visible patrol duties, community relations and crime prevention. The Bicycle Patrol places police officers in the community where they are the most available to the general public. Here they can work side by side with the people in our community to reduce crime, prevent loss of property, stop personal injury, and promote a positive image of our department to both adults and children alike.
These officers are out of the police cruisers which gives them more one-on-one contact and communication with the general public. This allows the officers to get better acquainted with the citizens who live in their patrol area and to learn the problems they are faced with, and to aid them in finding solutions to these problems. The Kingsport Bike Patrol unit was originally formed in 1991 with funding from the HUD, provided through the Kingsport Housing Authority. This federal drug elimination grant paid for the equipment and overtime hours used to reduce the drug problems in public housing and surrounding communities.
Officers who participate in this unit are required to attend a school for certification. Officers are taught bicycle safety, maintenance, riding techniques, suspect approach techniques, tactical dismounts, obstacle negotiations, emergency skills and legal issues.
In addition to the community Patrol services the Bike Patrol is used extensively during special events such as parades and Funfest as well as patrolling the greenbelt.
- Bike patrols are cost effective – 10 to 15 bike officers can be fully outfitted for the cost of one patrol car.
- Large operational cost savings of a bicycle compared to maintenance and fuel cost of a patrol car.
- Bike officers can travel faster and farther than foot officers and they are able to patrol areas unreachable by car.
- Bicycles give officers the “stealth” advantage – because they are silent, cops on bikes can ride right up to the scene of a crime before they are noticed.
Bicycles are a great public relations tool – an officer on a bike is much more approachable.
The union of police and bicycles dates back almost to the invention of the bicycle.The nation’s first urban uniformed mountain bike patrol started out on July 10, 1987. On that date two Seattle officers peddled out of their precinct and made three felony arrests in the first hour.The versatility of the Mountain bike works so well you would almost think it was designed for police work. Today, the bicycle is used by law enforcement units from urban to beaches to parks. Most recently, mountain bikes have been adopted by EMS units.