Over ten years ago, the International Police Mountain Bike Association (IPMBA) was founded with a vision. That vision was that someday the organization would serve the training and resource needs of public safety cyclists around the globe. Today, that vision is slowly being realized. It is not easy for a small organization to serve a worldwide membership – differences in language, culture, currency, economics, and ways of doing business vary greatly. However, assisted by the determination of several of its non-US members, IPMBA is well on its way.
England was once again well-represented at the IPMBA Conference. The IPMBA Instructor cadre in that nation more than doubled with the addition of six additional instructors. IPMBA congratulates Charlie Irvine, Lewis Hastie, and Ian Kershaw of London’s Metropolitan Police Department; Nigel Tottie and Steven Harvey of the N. Yorkshire Police; and Mark Inman of the Tees, East, and North Yorkshire Ambulance Service on successfully completing the IPMBA Instructor Course. All these newly-minted Police Cyclist Instructors then went to on to complete the PCI to EMSCI Transition Course, qualifying them to teach the EMS Cyclist Course as well. Mark Cockram of the City-of-London Police, apparently enjoyed his visit to the States last year, because he put in an appearance again this year. Hopefully first-timer Steve Baxter of the Hampshire Police will follow suit!
Representing Europe was Roger Pfister, from the Switzerland National Police Force. Roger has become a “regular” at the IPMBA Conference, having attended the 2000, 2001, and 2002 IPMBA Conferences. He missed 2003 due to family reasons, but is planning to join us again in Scottsdale, if his air marshal duties permit.
The attendee who traveled the farthest was another repeat customer – Michael Satlow from the Jerusalem Civil Guard. He is proud to have completed the IPMBA Instructor Course so that he can provide the other members of his volunteer bike squad with proper training. Because the regular police are frequently faced with acts of terrorism and other violence, the Civil Guard plays a crucial role in performing many standard police functions and otherwise supplementing the full-time police force.
Back on the North American continent, IPMBA welcomed visitors from both north and south of the border. From Ontario hailed Steve Forbes and Mike Caskenette. Steve, who is with the University of Guelph, was certified as an IPMBA Instructor; Mike, from the University of Toronto Police, was able to attend the conference.
Several months before the conference, T.J. Richardson issued an invitation to officers from San Antonio’s Sister City program to attend. Most were unable to send representatives; however, two cities graciously accepted the invitation. As a result, Porfirio Antonio Escobar Irias and Elvis Javier Cantarero Venturo, both from Policia Nacional Honduras in Ceiba, Honduras, enrolled in the IPMBA Police Cyclist Course. The language barrier was overcome with the help of an interpreter from Our Lady of the Lake University and Officers John Serrano and Naipo Robertson of UT El Paso, who both put their fluent Spanish to good use.
It was a pleasant surprise to be joined by the Police Commissioner of Monterrey, Mexico, and two of his staff members. They were welcomed warmly and spent the rest of the day acquainting themselves with the concept of bike patrol as well as IPMBA.
At press time, IPMBA representatives were busily preparing to attend the second annual 999 Emergency Services Cycling seminar, to be held in conjunction with the CTC’s York Rally, the largest gathering of cyclists in the UK, in York, England. Membership coordinator Chris Davala will oversee the launch of a UK branch of IPMBA, and a series of informational sessions about public safety cycling are planned. The event will also include a skills competition for police and EMS cyclists.
Through its increasing presence around the globe, IPMBA continues to strive to meet its goals of promoting the use of bikes for public safety, providing resources and networking opportunities, and offering the best, most complete training for public safety cyclists.
(c) 2004 IPMBA. This article appeared in the Summer 2004 issue of IPMBA News.