Deputies now ride bicycles
September 15, 2009
Drunk drivers at Kimball Junction might now get pulled over by a deputy on a bicycle who belongs to the first Summit County Sheriff’s Office bike patrol.
"We hit up the Redstone area last week," said John Lange, a Summit County Sheriff’s Office sergeant who leads the new platoon.
The three deputies in Summit County who are certified as bicycle officers ride specially equipped mountain bikes purchased with donations from residents and businesses, Lange said.
The patrols started this month, he said.
Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds called the bicycle patrols are "community-oriented policing."
"We want the interaction between the Sheriff’s Office and the public. The officers that participate in bicycle patrols are closer to the communities that they serve," Edmunds said. "The encounters you can have on a bicycle are so much more meaningful than the encounters you can have in a car."
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The Pete Bollenbecker family donated most of the money the Sheriff’s Office is using to fund the bike patrol. Other donors include the Calahan family, the Newpark Owners Association, Newpark Resort and Hotel, Greater Park City Properties and Walmart.
"They believe in the cause because the benefits are just so great," Lange said. "We’re still open to any donations."
Deputies on bicycles have more mobility for controlling crowds than officers in cruisers, he explained.
And pedaling is better for the environment, Edmunds stressed.
"It’s consistent with community values," he said.
Deputies riding bicycles will patrol neighborhoods not heavily monitored by law enforcement in the past.
Still, they’ll have their vehicles nearby, Lange said.
"Summit County is so large, it’s not as if we can just safely deploy on these," Lange said. "They will have their car within a reasonable distance."
Meanwhile, deputies on bicycles will be visible at rodeos and along parade routes in the county.
"We’ve talked about doing it for a long time, and the benefits exceed the costs," Edmunds said. "This is urban policing, but there are rural applications as well."