By Melissa Cantu Trevino, Alice Echo News Journal, January 3, 2019
Alice TX -- Nine Alice police officers are now part of the department’s newest bike patrol unit. In March of 2017, the officers concluded a “vigorous” training that certified or re-certified them for the bike patrol unit.
Officers on bike patrol are Eleocadio “Leo” Reyna III, Albert Stout, Michael Hastings, Marty Suarez, Julian Cavazos, Jon Carlo Jaramillo, Valentin Montemayor, Bianca Mitchel and Aaron Frazier.
The unit is just another asset to the department and the community. The officers in the unit can make traffic stops, give citations and make arrests. The bikes that officers are using have been marked as police property and are equipped with emergency lights.
“Using officers on bikes helps build public awareness and makes our department more visual which helps prevent crime,” said Interim Chief Aniceto “Cheto” Perez. “Many times people don’t even realize there is a cop on a bike around until the officer has already caught them in a criminal act or is there to assist them.”
“An officer on a bike is much smaller, quieter and can go places that are not easily accessible to patrol vehicles. Also, a person fleeing from an officer (on foot) generally can’t out run an officer on a bike,” Perez said.
The department did have a bike patrol years ago, but over time the unit diminished. Perez brought the program back with a fresh start; training officers on new laws and with a tougher training program.
The purpose of this new training is “to give law enforcement officers with an update on bicycle (procedures) need to ride whenever and wherever they are needed. Proper training is essential to an officer’s on-the-job performance and safety. It is also critical in reducing liability.”
Training for the officers were divided into 11 units: bike handling and vehicular cycling, bike fit, group riding, hazard recognition and common crashes, nighttime patrol and more.
With the reinstatement of the bike patrol, officers have been assigned to special assignments such as the Alice Echo News Snow Day, the St. Joseph 5K run and will also be on patrol during the St. Elizabeth’s 5K Glow Run in March 2018.