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Campbell Police Department rolls out bike program again

By JASMINE LEYVA, The Mercury News, Bay Area News Group, April 12, 2017 

Campbell (CA) -- The Campbell Police Department has brought back its bike patrol program years after phasing it out during a round of budget cuts.

The department rolled out four new patrol bikes on March 19, according to Police Chief David Carmichael, who said discussion about resurrecting the program began about a year ago.

“The hiatus started about seven or eight years ago when the city went through some budget cuts,” Carmichael said. “We had it in the ’90s and early 2000s.”

Carmichael said he was part of the bike patrol program before becoming police chief.

“I saw the benefit of having it,” he said.

The bikes help officers reach and patrol areas of the city that aren’t accessible by car, such as parks and the Los Gatos Creek Trail. Officers ride out during during the week in pairs throughout the city.

“We really want (the bike patrol) in parks and downtown,” Carmichael said. “This is another tool for our officers to use.”

The new bikes were purchased with money raised by the Campbell Police Foundation. A dunk tank at last year’s Boogie on the Avenue event and an annual breakfast fundraiser helped bring in cash for the bikes, according to the nonprofit’s vice chair Carol Hoffman.

“We have several events throughout the year where raise money, and we do continuous fundraising during the year,” Hoffman said.

The four bikes cost a little less than the $3,000 raised. They were purchased from Wheel Away Cycle Center on Hamilton Avenue.

“Several of us were aware of the bike program several years ago,” Hoffman said. “We’re really excited to have them on the ground, especially near the trail.”

According to officer James Cooper, who is certified to ride in the program, officers participate in 40 hours of bike patrol training. Four officers are already certified for the program, and another four are entering training, he said.

“It’s a great way to interact with the community and be visible,” Cooper added.

Carmichael said he hopes the program will make officers appear more personable to residents and visitors.

He said some of the patrol cars will have racks to transport bikes.

According to Capt. Gary Berg, Cooper spearheaded the program’s revival. Before he was an officer in Campbell, Cooper was on the San Jose police force and rode in that department’s program.

The Campbell Police Foundation will again try and raise money with a dunk tank at Boogie on the Avenue on May 20.

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