by Stephanie Dubois, MetroNews Canada, July 22, 2014
photo: Stephanie Dubois/Metro: Edmonton Police officers part of a group bicycle ride speak with an individual at Mary Burlie Park on July 10.
It’s shortly before 10 a.m. on July 10 and Edmonton Police members part of a downtown group bicycle ride make their first stop at Mary Burlie Park, just off 97 Street.
It’s at this park where they find a handful of people lingering around, including one young woman asleep in the nearby community garden.
Sgt. Tony Parrotta spots a 26-ounce bottle of vodka half-emptied lying beside her and the 16-year old girl is later arrested in connection to a drug operation.
Officers on bicycles consider this proactive policing, an initiative they do when riding on two wheels around the city.
“Walking to me is probably the best way to get around but with the bike, you’re able to—at a slow pace as well—cover more ground,” said Parrotta.
Patrolling Edmonton on bikes is nothing new for the police force, but more officers are becoming trained in using bikes as a way to prevent crime and increase their visibility amongst the general public.
Police say their visibility to one witness helped them address a spousal abuse issue near 107 Avenue and 113 Street during their July 10 ride. Splitting up, officers on bikes were able to catch and arrest the man involved in the incident in a nearby alleyway, while other officers helped the woman involved receive medical attention.
Although the incident was already reported to 911, the officer cyclists were able to free up their colleagues scheduled to report to the call.
“We just happened to be in the area, three blocks away and the three patrol cars hadn’t responded to the call, but because we were that much closer, we were already there,” said Parrotta.