By Shawn Allen |, WYMT, July 26, 2018
PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - The city of Prestonsburg is considered by many to be one of the healthier more active communities in the region. The same can now be said for its Police Department as they have brought back what they are referring to as the "Rolling Thunder Bicycle Patrol."
A Police Officer has a duty to protect and serve. Sergeant Austin King says, "The streets are safer than they've ever been."
The department is going the extra mile to keep that commitment by not only bringing the bicycle patrol back to the streets but also by adding another bike and officer. Officer Brandon Martin is a new edition to the patrol. Officers Austin King and Brandon Martin say the bikes allow them to do things they would not otherwise be able to do in a cruiser.
"They're so silent you can't hear them coming up on you like you can in a vehicle. Unless we have our lights on you don't know that we are there," said King.
With the ever changing face of the drug epidemic King says using the bicycles to patrol came out of necessity.
"Criminals realizing that it is easier to do things on foot than it is in a vehicle. So with that being said we had to adjust...we had to adapt and evolve," said King.
The bikes have already proven beneficial during the recent pursuit of a fleeing suspect.
"Two officers got into a foot pursuit the other day and the subject already had a head start on them. He had took off through a few yards and jumped a couple of fences. Because I was on the bike I was able to chase him down and maneuver through some yards. And things you wouldn't be able to do in a car," explained King. "But I was able to catch him that way. It was a wanted convicted felon."
Local business owner, Ashleigh Dotson likes seeing the bikes on the streets.
"Sometimes we are open late and I like knowing the fact they are patrolling our streets. It gives me even more of a sense of security...and I do like their shorts," said Dotson.
The officers are seeing a positive reaction from almost everyone. The criminals? Not so much.
"They're not big fans of it I don't believe," said King. "They're going to have to adjust their tactics."
The Prestonsburg City Police Department Bicycle Patrol with be actively patrolling as long as weather permits.