By Micky Djuric, Moose Jaw Times-Herald, Published on July 23, 2014
Photo: © Mickey Djuric, Constable Landon Giraudier takes one of the police bikes out for a patrol. Times-Herald photo by Mickey Djuric
During the summertime, a major tool in community policing is a two pedal bicycle.
Not only does it allow officers to police the city, but it opens up communication between residents and those on the bike.
“It seems like you get more interaction with people when you’re talking to them riding the bikes,” said Constable Landon Giraudier, of the Moose Jaw Police Service (MJPS). “They’re not afraid to come up to talk to you, and they might even have a question.”
In the early 2000s, the MJPS implemented the use of bikes to better patrol the city. With two mountain bikes, officers gear up in shorts, hop on the bike and carry on with normal duties like they would if they were in a vehicle.
Giraudier referenced one study done by Roger Williams University stating officers who patrolled with a vehicle averaged 3.3 contacts in an hour. However, those patrolling on bicycles averaged 7.3 contacts per hour.
By being on a bicycle, people are able to relate more to officers and recognize them as any other member of the community.
“Being on a bike increases citizen contact with us. We hear more things, and with us being in that much contact with citizens, it can lead to more productivity with answering calls. Also people might not normally call the police because they don’t know if it’s a police issue or not, so they’ll come and approach us and sometimes we can generate more from that.”
Other than more open communication, bicycle patrol leads to other advantages.
Officers are able to be more stealthy and experience a different vantage point when on two wheels opposed to four.
“More people are looking for sirens and lights. If criminals don’t have all their access points covered out with lookouts, we can sneak in there with the bike and access areas vehicles can’t go. More or less surprise the criminals in the act,” said Giraudier.
“You’re able to see different things, and are able to get into smaller places. You don’t have the engine sound or radio going off in the car. You actually get to hear stuff that’s going on around you.”
The concept of cops on bikes isn’t a new one. It was first introduced into policing in the 1860s, but thanks to high gas prices and wonderful weather, bike patrolling seems to be picking up once again.
Giraudier says there is no disadvantage to patrolling on a bicycle. The two pedal bike also sets an example for Moose Jaw by encouraging others to stay active, stay involved in their community and communicate with those you may otherwise just pass on the street.