A Under Used Resource
K. Henson Smith
There is a resource that most police departments overlook when trying to figure out how to stop crime in certain areas. Bike patrols are an underused asset to police because they are silent, able to access areas that a patrol car cannot, and can be used as a tool for good personal relations with the public. Bike patrols can make crime prevention easier for police departments by allowing them to concentrate on certain areas and use less patrol units to cover those areas. Most police departments now do not understand how a bike patrol could help. Bike patrols started in the United States in the late 1800’s. The earliest bike patrol used a bike called a boneshaker made of iron and wood (Petty, 2006). “The earliest use of the bicycle by police may have been in 1869 when an Illinois sheriff reportedly supplied himself and his deputies with these boneshakers.” (Petty, p. 2). It is believed that the United States may have been the first to use bikes but British were using tricycles about the same time (Petty, 2006). A few years later the concept of bicycle police was starting to spread across the United States. “By September 1892, the police in Orange New Jersey were being trained to ride modern safety bicycles for patrol and tandem bicycles for quick response to outbreaks and disturbances.” (Petty, p. 2). This was about the time when the bicycle became what we use today with a diamond frame and rubber tires (Petty, 2006). “In 1894, after some debate, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Cincinnati, and Chicago all had active police bicycle patrols.” (Petty, p. 3) In the 1890’s there appeared to be a wide spread police bicycle use in the United States (Petty, 2006). By the 1890’s the bicycle police in New York began to prove their worth by impressing the Chief of Police (Petty, 2006). “Within three months of being started the two bicycle policemen impressed the...
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Menton, C. (2008). Bicycle patrol: an underutilized resource. Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, 31(1), 93-108. doi:10.1108/13639510852594
Petty, R. D. (2006). The rise, fall and rebirth of bicycle police. A Brief History of Police Cycling. Retrieved May 17, 2013, from www.ipmba.org
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