Duluth Bike Patrol Allows Police to be More Accessible
Duluth Police Patrol on Bikes
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In the early 90’s, technology swept through law enforcement.
But, those new high tech cars, radios and crime fighting tools sometimes overshadow the need to have contact in the community.
Some Duluth Police officers are ditching their vehicles to fight crime up close and personal.
The group has never spent much time riding a bike for fun.
But, they were willing to hop on a bicycle as part of their job and these officers spend their whole day pedaling all around downtown Duluth.
Riding over curbs and going down steps, the helmet clad officers are serious about keeping an eye out for mischief.
“If we can take care of the little things, bigger things don’t necessarily happen,” said Officer Nick Lepak with the Duluth Bike Patrol.
The Duluth Bike Patrol offers several tactical advantages over any other form of patrol.
“When you’re out there on a bicycle, you’re in the elements,” said Lepak.
While most of us notice sirens and squad cars, bike cops are a little more subtle.
“We’re able to get around very quietly and very effectively,” said Lepak.
It’s a game changer that makes them 3-5 seconds faster than squad cars.
“If you look at the amount of tickets and the amount of interactions and contacts we had during the time, I think a big benefit was the bike patrol,” said Lepak.
As with most things in law enforcement, it all starts with citizen contact.
“They are sneaky about it which I’m going to say I like and then again I don’t” said Duluthian, Laura Humphrey.
Whether it’s panhandling or drinking in public, many Duluthians say they feel safer with the bike patrol nearby.
“Most of them get drunk and they pick on us. We don’t do anything,” said Duluthian, Bridget Daniels.
After a full shift of putting mileage on and interacting with the community, these guys love what they do.
In just 2 hours, Officer Lepak and Officer Hurst wrote a total of 4 tickets with 1 arrest and more than 100 community contacts.
The Duluth Bike Patrol has been around since the mid 90’s.