All week in West Hartford dozens of Connecticut police officers have been roaming the roads and trails as part of a statewide certification course.
The course from the International Police Mountain Bike Association teaches policemen and women an array of tactics on how to “ride the beat” more effectively. From cornering turns to taking on a flight of stairs, it is a forty hour course that ended friday afternoon.
“It’s teaching them patrol skills and ways to manipulate the bike,” said Detective Todd Myers, a veteran West Hartford Police Office and course instructor. Myers added “you are much more approachable outside of a (patrol) car.”
Sgt. Geroge DelMastro of the Meriden Police said bike patrols are positive community tools providing a much less intimidating element from a cruiser, “it’s a good way to approach people and talk to them and have them talk to us,” he said.
A total of 30 officers took the week long certification course, which was not just physical tests on the trails and roads, its also included a 100 question written test. Detective Myers said all of the officers passed.
A study compared the public interaction of police who patrol on bicycles and cruisers and found that bike cops had many more contact with the general public. At the same time they were able to respond to a similar number of serious incidents.
The study was conducted in Hartford; Boston, Mass.; Charlotte, NC; Providence, RI and Washington, DC.