Wednesday, June 22, 2005
“Rubber meets the road” for SBPD this summer
South Bend— It’s time for the rubber to meet the road. Five sets of new rubber bike tires, to be exact.
When it comes to public safety in your neighborhood, summer’s the time when South Bend Police Department (SBPD) officers suit up in shorts and helmets and hit the streets all over the city. This year the SBPD was able to add a fleet of new all-terrain mountain bikes to its arsenal. With those extra bikes, and for the first time this year, patrol officers will have the option to cruise their beats on two or four wheels.
Especially with the recent warming trend, plenty of officers have already stepped up, or should we say, sat down to ride. If the weather is cooperative on any given day, several officers are assigned to ride during their shifts, spanning the hours from 7:00 a.m. till 10:00 p.m. Counting the “older” fleet, there are 15 bicycles available.
Capt. Terry Young explained that in the past, the SBPD has had a bicycle patrol that officers were assigned to. However, he said riders only covered the downtown and East Race areas. Now more officers have the opportunity to patrol their areas and offer personal presence in the neighborhoods.
And that’s in response to neighbors—north, south, east and west—letting the SBPD know that’s what they want and need.
Afternoon shift Cpl. Keenan Lane said already this year he’s had people coming out on their porches when he’s riding by. Seems that after being inside for the winter months, they have all sorts of things to share.
“People are happy to see us out again…and they tell me how much better they feel when we’re out here keeping the streets safe. Bike patrol not only serves the purpose of getting to know people’s concerns, but also to work on those concerns,” explained Lane, who generally covers the southwest region.
He continued, “Let’s say Mrs. Smith may tell me so-and-so is dealing drugs on that corner. Using the bikes, officers can roll up on dealers and surprise them when they are actually looking for police cars…bikes are a great tool for law enforcement.”
Lane smiled and added, “I really enjoy this opportunity and all the contacts. It’s a hands-on way to offer community policing…plus it’s a great way to stay in shape.”