by Kristen Drew, KOMO, Wednesday, May 17th 2017
The Bremerton Police Department now has officers patrolling on bicycles to help crime-fighting efforts in the downtown core. (Photo: KOMO News)
BREMERTON, Wash. -- The Bremerton Police Department now has officers patrolling on bicycles to help crime-fighting efforts in the downtown core.
“It’s just great to get out with-- interacting with people. We see things differently that you don’t in a patrol car,” said Officer Brandon Greenhill.
Greenhill and his partner, Officer Derek Ejde, started patrolling the streets on bicycles about a week ago. Since then, they’ve contributed to nearly 30 arrests, including five on Wednesday morning for criminal trespassing at a vacant building.
"I’d say 99 percent sure nobody would have seen it because if they would have drove by in a car they probably wouldn’t have heard what we heard or they maybe would not have looked over because of traffi,c but since we’re on bikes we’re out looking for things, and we can hear differently,” said Greenhill who was previously in the detectives division.
The last time Bremerton had a bike unit was more than 20 years ago; the unit was dismantled due to budget cuts.
“In my career I’ve seen few things as effective for street crime fighting as the mountain bike unit,” said Bremerton Police Capt. Tom Wolfe.
Wolfe said bicycles make the officers more approachable than being in patrol cars. He also said the purpose of the bike unit allows them to be proactive and less reliant on calls to 911.
“With this we can keep doing things, keep addressing stuff, keep going to houses, or contacting people – we keep our activity up, we’re busy,” said Ejde, who was previously in the patrol division.
Ejde said the biggest adjustment to the bicycle unit has been the lack of access to resources, such as a laptop. “It’s not a huge thing. We’re kind of spoiled with computers and stuff. It’s useful but it is missed doing what we’re doing now,” Ejde said.
Some of the bike unit’s efforts also led drug-related arrests. The officers got information through contacts, which allowed detectives to serve warrants for drug-related offenses.
“You slowly but surely start impacting your city and making it just a better place and that’s the goal,” said Wolfe.
The department hopes to have four officers working full-time in the bike unit by next year.