By KARI BLURTON, Hays Post, July 23, 2014
The Hays (KS) Police Department is making improvements to the bike patrol with the recent purchase of four new 27-speed custom police edition mountain bikes.
Sgt. Jason Bonczynski said the officers are “really enjoying them” as the bikes are lighter and more rugged than the older models the officers used on bike patrol.
Bonczynski said the most important aspect of a bike patrol is community policing.
“An officer in a patrol car … they can go quite a distance in a relatively short amount of time, however, when on regular patrol they are inside a steel car where they are not easily assessable if they are just patrolling,” Bonczynski said. “When we are on a bike, we are very accessible to the public and anybody walking around can wave us down and say ‘hi’ — they don’t necessarily have to be dialing 911 to get our attention right away.
“We can get to some locations quicker on two wheels than on four,” he added. “Public events — the Wild West Fest, Oktoberfest — we just had the Blues & Barbecue event … easily accessible to the public…say hi, let them know we are here to help should the need arise.”
Bonczynski said bike patrol officers are also good at detecting crime while it is in progress.
“While people are doing things and looking out for police, they are looking for headlights, looking for the light bar and they are looking for a white car,” he said. “Very rarely are they looking for a bicycle.”
Bonczynski said bike patrol officers can do anything patrol officers can do — from working an accident to making traffic stops.
The HPD is hoping to purchase four additional custom police edition bikes next year.
The HPD bike patrol will hold its second annual Bike Rodeo from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 9 at the Hays Public Library. The Bike Rodeo is free to all youth and will teach bike safety skills.