Ramping up bike patrols

Jun. 15, 2013 @ 05:01 AM

Nearly $1,260 in grant funds went towards the purchase of the two bicycles from Puzzle Creek Outdoor Company, as well as two bike helmets and equipment including dual strobe lights, water bottle cage racks, rear racks and saddle bags.

“The police department already has two other bikes, but they are aged and require a lot of maintenance and upkeep,” said Forest City Police Captain Donnie Hensley. “These bikes are a good community policing tool versus a patrol car. On a bike, you don’t have the space of a vehicle between you and other people.”

The maneuverability of the bikes and their ability to navigate narrow driveways and crowded streets offer advantages over patrol cars.

The seven officers assigned to bike patrol will carry all of their regular equipment while riding and have all materials required for issuing citations.

“In the event of an arrest, a uniform patrolman in a vehicle will be dispatched to assist bike patrol,” Hensley said.

The two bicycles will officially debut Friday, June 21 at the Kids & Cops event sponsored by the Forest City Police Department.

While the bikes will be used in Forest City for festivals and community events, the majority of patrols will focus primarily around the Amity and Oak Forest housing authority developments.

“We have always had a good working relationship with Forest City Housing Authority, and we want to thank Theresa and the Board of Commissioners for their contribution and cooperation, and the commissioners’ approval for the necessary funds to purchase the bikes,” Hensley said. “These new bikes will allow us to cover more area and provide us with a better way to interact with members of the community and build closer relationships in our neighborhoods.”