By Stephanie Dubois, MetroNews Canada, July 22, 2014
Photo: Stephanie Dubois/Metro: Edmonton Police ride as part of a group unofficially called Wheels of Justice.
“Take the lane,” can be heard from one of the 20 officers part of downtown division’s weekly group rides as the convoy slowly moves into a road lane on Jasper Avenue during a July 10 ride.
Officially, they’re known as officers-part-of-different-beats-associated-with-the-downtown-division. Unofficially, they’re known as ‘Wheels of Justice.’
About once a week, officers part of specific downtown beats take part in a group bike ride in hopes of becoming more visible to the public.
“We’re more approachable on a bike than we would be in a car,” said Sergeant Tony Parrotta with the downtown division.
Starting off as a group, officers later ride away from the group ride to their specific patrol areas or to respond to nearby calls.
Officers say by being on bikes in the city allows them to be more discrete in catching illegal activity compared with vehicle patrols.
“Sometimes we’ll ride right up to drug transactions and they won’t hear us,” said Parrotta.
Day and night officers take to their bikes to help patrol the city, something they plan to continue.
“You’re more approachable to stakeholders, community members [and you’re] still able to cover large areas,” said Parrotta.