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DULUTH-A Duluth city councilor's discussion about officers on bikes surprised police administration this week. Chief Gordon Ramsay, wanting to make things clear, took to the internet to post his response to the question "Does the city still have bike patrols?"
Ramsay reported the number of officers on bike have actually increased in Duluth.
Statistics, that officers say are estimates on the low end, show that since May 1 the bikers have made almost 1,600 contacts, have taken 40 people into custody, and made 5 felony arrests.
Balancing that with all of their other patrol responsibilities, the group of between five and ten officers also logged more than 1,000 miles.
"I think that catches the eye of especially tourists. They're always wanting to stop and talk with us," Sergeant Ken Zwak said.
The main focus for the group is not necessarily violent crimes or breaks–in, Zwak said.
"I think it's just the quality of life issues. That includes tourists. Tourists want to come to this town and they want to feel comfortable and businesses – they want to run their businesses and have their customers come and go freely," Zwak said.
"I think we're more visible than other officers in squad cars because we're out there, on bikes," Community Officer Rob Hurst said. "We're riding right next to people and we're able to have that face-to-face communication."
"A lot of those conversations turn into talking about the problems, you know, what their problems are or if there are any problems," Hurst said.
Since May 1 the officers have also given 152 citations, taken 29 people to detox, and made 33 traffic stops.