By Dan Corcoran, NBC Connecticut, July 13, 2017
Hamden CT -- More police officers will be riding on two wheels in the town of Hamden. The police chief said the department's expanded bike patrol unit is ready to roll.
Grace Harrington said the moment her son was born, protecting her family became her top priority.
"As a new mom, I think that safety is number one, just making sure that the community is safe," said Harrington, who is from Milford but often visits Hamden.
Member of the Hamden Police Department said they have that same priority of protecting citizens. In order to do that, the department is utilizing more bicycles. Officers hope to better connect with residents and visitors and believe they can often do that better while on a bicycle.
"People constantly are stopping you and saying 'It's so good to see you out here'," said Sgt. Michael Doherty, who is heading up the recently expanded 35 member bike patrol unit. There are tactical advantages, he said, but often bicycle patrols will roll onto a street recently hit by crime in hopes of building the bond between officers and the people they serve.
"We are out with the people. We work for the people. And I can interact with them on a one-on-one basis," said Sgt. Doherty.
The bicycle unit already has routes mapped out in several neighborhoods, with more being added. Police Chief Thomas Wydra said $250,000 already budgeted for overtime pay will cover the bike beats. Officers will have the choice of working the additional overtime hours," Wydra said.
Chief Wydra and Mayor Curt Balzano Leng announced that the patrols are active in the Highwood, Whitneyville, State Street, Woodin Street, Spring Glen, and Hamden Plains Neighborhoods. New patrols are being added in the Hamden Mart and Hamden Plaza area.