The Bicycle Patrol began in Longmeadow September of 1994. The 1st bikes and equipment were purchased from private donations. The first bike was a Raleigh FT500 Police Series specifically designed for the rigors of police patrol. It is constructed similar to most mountain bikes, however the handlebars and seat are positioned father back of the frame so that the officer has better visibility.
The basic bike, unequipped retails for $500. There are presently 4 bikes:
The idea for a bike patrol was 1st conceived by 2 patrolman and then the idea was proposed to the Chief of Police. It was part of this department's on going commitment to Community Policing. There were 3 Officer assigned to the initial bike patrol.
Since then 3 more officers have been added to the patrol. In the summer of 1996, all bike officers completed the newly created state certified bike patrol course COBWEB (Cops on Bikes with Education in Bicycling). It is a 3 day intensive course.
It is loosely based on a course that was originated by the Seattle Washington Police Department They were the 1st department in the country to use a bike patrol as an effective way to patrol urban areas because of traffic concerns.
Our bike officers have been used for special assignments such as large sporting events and the annual town festival Longmeadow Days. The bike patrol has also been used for patrolling areas that have experienced an unusual increase in the amount of crimes committed. It has been used at all hours of the day and night, and officers have patrolled on bikes well into November.
The officer on the bike is able to respond to all areas town sometimes responding to situations quicker than the patrol car. It is also able to patrol remote areas where vehicle traffic is prohibited or unable to access. Because of the stealth like approach, officers on bikes have been credited with several arrest that may have gone undetected by vehicle patrol. The true benefit of the officer on bike is approachability.
The citizen as a whole find the bike less intrusive and are more apt to approach the officer for conversation or to lodge a complaint.