By Kim Chatelain, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune, January 30, 2018
Relax folks. The gun-toting men wearing headgear and zipping through the streets of Covington on bicycles are not lawbreakers. They're law enforcers.
The Covington Police Department has re-instituted its bicycle patrols. The patrols will be used at fairs, festivals and parades, Chief Tim Lenz said. The Covington officers are likely to be out on bikes at the Krewe of Olympia Mardi Gras parade Saturday night (Feb. 3).
"A bike patrol program is a great way to increase the ability for an officer to interact with the public," Lentz said. "Officers on bikes are more approachable and it allows them to build one-on-one contacts with the public."
Lentz said the department had a bike patrol years ago but it was dismantled and the bikes were placed in storage. The bikes were recently dusted off and tuned up by Patrick Brooks of Brooks Bicycle Shop in Covington.
Members of the department - including Detective Mark Dugas, Detective Edwin Masters, Officer Chase Sharp and Officer Mike Liberto - participated in a special training program for police bicycle patrolling. Kenner Police Department Officer Scott Verdun, a certified bicycle patrol trainer, was loaned to the Covington department to conduct the training.
Verdun taught Covington officers a variety of skills on the bikes, including slow maneuver techniques for large crowds, quick dismounts and how to maneuver down stairs. The training is complete and the officers are ready to take their bikes on the road.
Lentz, who became police chief in 2013, said he's been wanting to re-establish the bike patrols for some time, but didn't have the staffing to do so. With four recruits soon to complete the police academy and join the department's ranks, the chief said the law enforcement agency will be fully staffed with 46 members, which includes administrative and support personnel.
"I am proud to announce the return of bicycle patrol to the streets of Covington," Lentz said. "Look for the bikes at fairs and festivals in town along with patrolling our business district."