New GPD bicycle patrol for downtown business district

SHEILA A. MATHEWS:::

The Griffin Police Department has implemented a new aspect to its Uniform Patrol Division in the form of a Bicycle Patrol.

Comprised of eight officers, including two from each of the four shifts, the unit will initially patrol the downtown district, also known as Zone 5.

According to Patrolman Larry Wright, who heads up the new unit, much training was undertaken prior to the first street patrol last week.

“They have a very active Bicycle Unit at the Columbus Police Department and they agreed to come down and train our officers,” he said.

The training, which was facilitated by Instructor Felix Remigio, consisted of both classroom instruction and practical application skills.

The eight GPD Bicycle Patrol personnel, including Officers Wright, Fletcher, Earls, Jordan, Cardell, Dorsey, Buchanan and Storm, underwent intensive field training.

“As for field training, we did several obstacle courses. We learned power sliding and quick or fast braking. We also had to learn the proper technique for falling,” Wright said, explaining that this will minimize the risk of severe injury in the event an officer is forced to lay down their bike. “The cone courses that we went through were designed to teach us to maneuver in tight spaces, such as parking lots, alleys and sidewalks. We also had to learn to do several defensive riding tactics such as riding down stairs, hills and high curbs.”

Capt. Dwayne Jones said the newly created unit was formed utilizing existing budgeted funds.

“It came from the existing budget of the Police Department,” Jones said. “We’re just relocating some of our officers, so there’s no additional staff required for the unit, either.”

Another benefit of the Bicycle Patrol was the selection of a local business – Blue Moon Bicycles – for the necessary equipment.

Jones said PD officials worked closely with Blue Moon owner Lee Russell, who ensured high-quality and proper equipment was purchased, including not only the bikes, but also safety equipment such as helmets and protective gloves and eyewear.

Wright said the purpose of the unit, which will involve two officers spending approximately five hours each patrolling the downtown area, is to not only reduce crime, but enhance community relations, as well.

“The ultimate goal of the Bicycle Patrol is to help build a bridge between the community and the Police Department,” he said, adding that initial reactions have been positive. “We’ve been getting a good response. A lot of people have been waving and smiling to show their support and appreciation.” Ω

 

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