Store owners are happy bike police returning

Briana Lonas, Reporter, Prescott Valley Tribune, May 8, 2014.  Photo:  Sgt. Scott Stebbins

The Prescott Valley Police Department has reinstated its popular bike patrol now that budget restraints have begun to relax.

The pedaling officers will remain a presence around town to include the popular Entertainment District that features a variety of social gathering opportunities.

"I'm definitely glad they are back," said Sundogs Assistant General Manager Ashley Stovall.

"Last summer, a lot of youth were hanging around the center, especially on Friday nights and sometimes just standing around in front of the windows," Stovall said and added that the bike patrol would enhance the safety of the store's patrons while helping to cut back on the loitering.

Freedom Station Manager Chad Cook said, "They are doing a great job and very proactive."

Cook said he appreciated the way the town uses its resources to provide public safety services such as the return of the bike patrol within the Entertainment District.

Sgt. Scott Stebbins began his law enforcement career with the department as a bike patrol officer and recently received the green light to equip certified staff to carry their bikes on their patrol cars, according to Communications Relations Coordinator Heidi Dahms Foster.

The PVPD began its bike patrol in 1997. The department has certified 11 officers in bike patrol and continues to provide advanced training. Officers may observe and react to situations they may not see from their patrol vehicles, Foster says.

She explained further that the patrol training proves difficult and officers must complete 40 hours of instruction that includes long ride physical endurance, obstacles courses with steps, curbs and seesaws, timed cone drills, shooting after a tough ride, using a bike to control suspects and even traffic stops.

"I have experienced the tremendous benefit to having police officers on bikes. We saw police officers ride right up to people who were doing drug transactions and didn't realize it was the police. It's an effective tool and just one more approach we can rely on to serve this community the most efficient way possible," said Police Chief Bryan Jarrell in a prepared statement.

The bike officers will ride patrols at several upcoming events in Prescott Valley and continue providing coverage at popular events to include the recently completed Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics and the Bike Rodeo.

The patrol will be out in force at the upcoming Battle of the Bands on Saturday, May 17 and during the Prescott Valley Days in June as well as around town during the 4th of July.

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