You can expect to see more Asheville Police Department officers on bicycle patrols in coming weeks as the department rejuvenates its bike-patrol program.
Police have taken to two wheels to patrol various parts of the city in the past, but the program went by the wayside in recent years, according to Capt. Tim Splain. This week, the department is offering a training course to get dozens of officers comfortable with biking equipment and maneuvering techniques. Monday at Memorial Stadium, more than a dozen officers worked their way through three courses marked off with tiny yellow cones.
The goal is to have bike-patrol units in all of the Police Department’s districts, Splain said. Some areas are more suitable for bike patrols than others, but the goal is to have police officers on bikes patrolling parking decks, alleyways and shopping areas such as Biltmore Village. Patrols will also aim for neighborhoods, such as Ballentree and Shiloh, Splain said.
Having some officers on pedal-powered patrols will save on fuel expenses and cut pollution, but Splain said the bike patrols are also “really effective in finding criminal violations like panhandling, drinking and drug use,” and that they fit with the department’s “community policing” philosophy.
Click on the video below to watch Asheville Police Department officers ride through a bicycle-training course at Memorial Stadium.
— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor