The goals of the MLPD Bicycle Unit are to prevent and deter crime in the community by patrolling areas that are inaccessible to motorized patrols. These areas include:
- business districts,
- residential areas,
- wooded areas, and
- the golf course.
The bicycles have proven very effective in patrolling problem areas where incidents of underage drinking and other crimes occurs. Since the unit’s inception, bicycle officers have made numerous contacts with persons in these areas, resulting in warnings, citations, field interview reports, and arrests.
Bicycle officers have also been involved in:
- issuing parking citations,
- discovering unsecured doors at businesses and schools,
- investigating traffic crashes,
- and responding to alarm calls, disturbance calls and ambulance calls.
Community Policing is a high priority for the Bicycle Patrol Unit. Citizens with concerns regularly approach Bicycle Officers during their patrol in the community. Many studies have shown that an officer on a bicycle proves much more accessible to citizens with questions or problems than an officer in a patrol car. Bicycles also allow officers to move quickly through large crowds or traffic-congested areas, making them ideal for special community events.
Officers wishing to become a member of the Bike Patrol Unit are selected based on their performance in a variety of aspects of police work. Selected candidates are then certified as Police Cyclists by attending a 40-hour training course authorized by the International Police Mountain Bike Association. An MLPD Patrol Lieutenant has achieved certification as Police Cyclist Instructor through this organization, allowing him to train other Officers from within the department, as well as Officers from surrounding agencies.
Currently, the MLPD Bicycle Patrol Unit consists of 11 Officers, including one supervisor charged with overseeing the unit’s overall operations. Recently, two additional Trek Police Mountain Bicycles were purchased and outfitted, bringing the total fleet of police bikes to six.