By Paul Bello, DVIDS, November 15, 2013
WASHINGTON – Police officers from agencies around the country came to Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling (JBAB) recently to learn the latest mountain bike procedures and training techniques.
The “train the trainers” week-long course was hosted by the International Police Mountain Bike Association (IPMBA). Headquartered in Baltimore, Md., IPMBA is dedicated to promoting the use of bikes for public safety while also providing resources and networking opportunities for public safety cyclists.
Emergency Medical Services (EMS) responders and police personnel from around the nation also took part in the course, according to Michael Wear, director of education for IPMBA and a police sergeant with the Washington Metropolitan Police Department.
“Bicycles are used in police departments around the nation. Riding a bike is an effective way to gain access to a place quickly,” Wear said. “We teach skills such as riding at night, navigating through traffic and how to clear obstacles. We also discuss the equipment someone would have while on a bike and how to use different gears properly.”
While police skills such as learning to shoot or apprehending a suspect from a bicycle are taught, it is slow-speed skills that are used most often, Wear said. Course instruction includes scenarios like learning how to ride a bike in a walking crowd, stopping by balancing on the shoulder of your partner and weaving around tightly-placed obstacle cones - all skills that an officer may use while patrolling on a bike.
Several officer trainees from Washington’s Metropolitan Police Academy participated in a separate bike patrol course the same week. Training is a prerequisite for all future officers prior to graduation.
“Those taking this course learn that bikes are not a toy, they are a tool,” Wear said. “It’s a matter of getting individuals on a bike and getting them to feel comfortable.”
Jeremy Greenberg, a volunteer firefighter in Fairfax County, Va., joined a colleague of his for the course. He believes the instruction will go a long way in helping his 16-member squad.
“This course offers a unique perspective in working with other agencies. That’s a huge bonus,” Greenberg said. “It’s an intense course in tactical riding. What we’ve learned here will certainly help our in-house training capability.”
Wear expressed his appreciation for the assistance, coordination and cooperation from JBAB, which he said provided an incredible training surface, roads to practice on and professional classrooms.
“Without a doubt, the training was a success,” Wear said. “We look forward to working with the installation in the near future.”
Since its founding in 1992, IPMBA has trained thousands of public safety professionals in safe and effective police, EMS, and security bicycle operations. It maintains a network of instructors who deliver the flagship Police, EMS, and Security Cyclist Courses, and offers introductory, intermediate, and advanced training opportunities throughout the year, Wear said.