Weeklong program includes 21 participants
By Katie Moore, Topeka Capital-Journal, May 16, 2017
Photo: Officers practice braking Tuesday during a week long International Police Mountain Bike Association course. (Katie Moore/The Capital-Journal)
Police officers on bikes raced across a southeast Topeka parking lot Tuesday and braked hard, coming to an abrupt halt. They weren’t chasing a suspect, but rather learning the basics of cycling in a weeklong International Police Mountain Bike Association course.
Topeka police Sgt. Jayme Green said the department holds the training at least once a year. This year, 10 Topeka police officers are participating, along with 11 officers from outside agencies, including departments from Washburn University, Iola, Tonganoxie, Mission and the Capitol Police.
“It’s been excellent,” Clay County park ranger Mark Bazzano said of the training. “I’ve not done a bike program, but this is a top-notch program that any department with bike officers should do.”
So far, Bazzano has learned about emergency braking and other maneuvers. Bazzano regularly cycles as a ranger and said it provides better interactions with the park’s guests than driving around in a patrol vehicle. There are more opportunities to talk to the public, answer questions and receive comments, he said.
Green said the course also delves into bike patrol techniques, maintenance and injuries.
The Topeka officers are patrol or community police officers. Some hope to become part of the department’s bike unit, Green said.
The course teaches better skills to those who are familiar with cycling and can get those who haven’t ridden since they were a kid to be pretty proficient by the end of the week, Green said.