By John Surratt, The Vicksburg Post, November 15, 2017
Photo: Officers Steven Ragan, from left, Joseph Stubbs, Lee Kennedy and Walter Harris pose for a photo with their bikes at the Vicksburg Police Department Wednesday. (Courtland Wells/The Vicksburg Post)
Four Vicksburg police officers will spend part of their days on patrol outside their cars and on bicycles.
Police Chief Milton Moore Wednesday initiated the department’s bicycle patrol using four officers who will periodically abandon their patrol cars for a bike to make their rounds.
Finding the bicycles, he said, was easy.
“We already had them. They were used during special events. The bikes were refurbished by Battlefield Bicycles; they added the lights and sirens, upgraded the handlebars, replaced the tires and the inner tubes, and we got new helmets. The bikes look brand new.”
Moore said the bikes will used for patrols and special events, adding the patrols will be made during daylight and weather permitting.
The officers for the patrol were selected from each of the city’s four patrol shifts, and will carry their bicycles on their patrol cars. “They volunteered for the duty; they were pretty excited about it,” Moore said.
“We are mounting bike racks on each of their patrol cars,” he said. “This is the first time we have put bike racks on the cars. When an officer is on patrol, he can park his car, remove the bicycle and continue his patrol on the bicycle.”
He said the bicycle patrol is part of his plan to improve community policing, which requires police officers to be more visible in the neighborhoods. The bicycles, he said, “Make an excellent community policing tool.”
The bicycle patrol officers will rotate daily through the city, he said, adding if a resident requests a bicycle patrol in their neighborhood, an officer will be assigned to that area.
“The bicycles increase our visibility, and there are some places where a bicycle can go that a car can’t. And it has another benefit; my officers will be healthier and physically fit,” Moore said.