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Bike patrol cruises Portland streets

Dessislava Yankova, Nashville3:38 p.m. CDT April 21, 2014, The Tennesseean

(Photo: DESSISLAVA YANKOVA / Gallatin News Examiner)

The Portland Police Department is getting stealthier — on two wheels.

The department is re-instating its bicycle patrols, which were cut in 2008 due to a personnel shortage. The city has since gradually hired officers and recreated the positions, Police Chief Richard Smith said.

“The bicycle makes it more convenient to stop and move through traffic at events,” said Capt. Dewel Scruggs. “And it’s a whole lot easier to maneuver.”

The cycling officers will be on patrol during Portland’s biggest event, the Strawberry Festival, coming up May 10.

“If someone is in a foot pursuit, you can easily get off the bike and chase them,” said Officer Kurtis McKeley. “You see a police car sooner than you see a bicycle. You have a lot more stealth.”

A main goal of the cycling patrols is also to create a better relationship with the community, mainly the youth.

“It provides for better one-on-one communication, and they can talk to people more and get a better feel where the needs are,” Wilber said. “It can help young people realize that the officer is not there only in adverse situations. The officer is there to help.”

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