Amherst Department will conduct bike patrols around community
AMHERST – As warmer weather returns the bicycles come out of hiding as people begin to ride the streets, including the Amherst police, who conduct bike patrols during this time of year.
It’s another form of transportation police have access to, in addition to the motor vehicle. But is it efficient?
Const. Normand Bourque thinks so.
Bikes are smaller and easier to maneuver than cars and it allows for a more efficient and silent pursuits, especially if the individual is on foot, he said.
“Most of the time I can get to calls faster than the cars. We get into places where a car just can’t get. We get in the back of buildings and pathways where cars can’t go.”
Last year Bourque pursued, on bike, a group of individuals who were going through parked cars, ultimately foiling their plans.
“They never heard us coming. All of a sudden we’re right on top of them. Usually they hear the cars a mile away, so we sneak up on them quite a bit.”
In 2009 the bike patrol was initiated and members of the department were selected to participate in the program. By 2011 approval of a second bike was granted and a bike team was formed, alternating shifts between each other.
Bourque is adamant about the program and believes it should be used more often and in more locations.
“It’s a great tool. I see this program becoming bigger and more popular as the public is responding well to it.”
The advantages of bike patrols extend further as they bridge the gap between officer and citizen, relieving the apprehension people may have of the police. It allows for more interaction with the public that you wouldn’t otherwise have, Bourque said.
“They feel it’s easier to come up to you and talk to you. They get the sense that they can stop you on the road and ask you questions about concerns that they may have.
The biking patrols are also a way for officers to keep fit and active, Bourque said.
“I love it, it’s an awesome program.”
On Twitter: @ADNthomas