Police Renew Bicycle Patrols
By MARK SPENCER
Courant Staff Writer
December 22, 2006
CANTON -- Police are reinvigorating the bike patrol program, following the donation of two new specially equipped mountain bicycles by a local business.
Deputy Chief Don Hull said this week that the department has had bike patrols for 10 years, but the patrols had been curtailed recently because of aging equipment.
Budget constraints prevented the police from buying new bikes. As word circulated about the condition of the bikes, Hull said, the Shoppes at Farmington Valley stepped forward and donated new ones. He said the business community has a long record of supporting the department.
The "Specialized, Rock Hopper" mountain bikes, worth $1,000 each, were purchased at Benidorm Bikes in Canton and come with red and blue flashing police lights, rear racks with utility bags, first aid kits and other emergency equipment.
Hull said the bikes are ideal for patrolling bike and walking trails, fairs and festivals and business districts.
"It gets the officer out of the car," Hull said. "He gets up close and personal with people."
Bike racks attached to police cars allow officers to go to an area and use the bike to patrol, while still having easy access to the car.
Patrols already have occurred at the Shoppes. Other areas that will be patrolled are Collinsville and the Canton Village shopping area, as well as nearby senior housing complexes at 21 Dowd Ave., 121 Dowd Ave. and Boulder Ridge.
Sgt. Tyson Deloy and Officer Derek Messier have completed weeklong police mountain bike certification courses. Messier said this week that the bikes allow police to get to areas that are inaccessible to cruisers and get there faster than on foot.
He said he also likes the face-to-face contact patrolling on a bike allows.
"It gives people a different perspective on how we do our policing," Messier said. "The more we get out of the car, the more receptive people are to us."
Contact Mark Spencer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright 2007, Hartford Courant