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Painesville Police bicycle patrol rolls out again

Painesville Police Sergeant Josh Rogers and Patrolman Vince Crews talks to Eastern Lake County Chamber of Commerce Membership Manager Katrina March at the Party on Main event on May 18.Tawana Roberts — The News-Herald

By Tawana Roberts, The News-Herald, May 29, 2018

The Painesville Police Department bicycle patrol unit recently hit the streets for the first time this spring.

“Our plan for this year has been to embed the bike patrol along with our foot patrol officers at a number of higher profile events,” said Chief Dan Waterman. “Our Party in the Park and Holiday Business walk are larger events and those are both slated for full coverage by both bikes at this time.”

It was started last year, and Rogers and Crews said they enjoy being a part of the bike patrol unit.

One of the greatest benefits of the bike patrol is community policing aspect, said Rogers.

“It is a way for us to get close to people and if they have any questions, they can ask,” he said.

Crews agreed, adding that they appear more approachable on bikes than in police cruisers.

The officers also wear friendly bike patrol uniforms that consist of polo shirts and slacks.

“Benefits are the ability of bike’s to navigate areas where vehicles struggle to due to large amount of foot traffic, the ability to move into an area quickly and quietly and observe and the community interaction afforded by their being open to the public more so than officers on traditional patrol,” Waterman said. “The bike patrol will also be used in special enforcement efforts downtown, such as solicitation or other quality of life type issues where the bikes strategic capacity can work to our advantage in making an impact. These efforts will mostly consist of problems affecting the downtown area and business district.”

The next step is for officers to get specialized training.

“We would like to have our Bike Patrol officers attend a specific Bike Patrol Tactics and Operations class and currently have that scheduled for early 2019,” he said. “While not mandated, we feel that attending the class would be consistent with the best practices employed in other divisions at the department.”

Although Waterman is pleased with the success of the bike patrol, he said expansion of the bike patrol is not in the foreseeable future.

The department will continue with the two-bike unit.

“Bike patrol’s future will be maintaining current function at large scale public events and deployment for special enforcement efforts where bikes would provide a benefit or strategic advantage over foot patrol or vehicular patrol,” he said.

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