Dothan, AL - Some Dothan police officers are giving up the cool, air conditioning in their patrol cars. Instead, more than a dozen will be going from four wheels to two.
“Basically this morning we looked at a course that we didn’t think we were going to be able to do, and we’re already one hundred percent better,” said Officer Tim Powell.
The entire training course for these bike patrol officers includes slow speed riding, bicycle maintenance, and defensive training. But it isn’t simply as easy as riding a bike.
“Turning on dimes and cutting corners and being able to go through things that we’re going to face when we’re out there patrolling,” said Powell.
After an increase in residential burglaries, officials wanted to see more day shift patrol officers on bikes. Lieutenant Todd David says there are advantages.
“You are able to use all of your senses. Your hearing is better. Your sense of smell is better. You might smell narcotics. If somebody does choose to run for whatever reason a bicycle is more effective at running somebody down,” said David.
Powell added, “We can ride up and they don’t even see us coming, and if they’re up to no good we can catch them. If they’re doing fine we can meet the community and tell them that they need to work with us because we’re here for them.”
Once these fourteen officers complete their training, the Dothan Police Department will have 30 police officers certified for bike patrol. This training will wrap up on Friday.
David says with Dothan’s growth trends, a full time bike unit could be in site for the department.