Bike cops might return to ESU
Due to a staff shortage, police officers on bicycles have been absent from campus for over 10 years. But recently, a few officers have hit the pedals in an attempt to slowly bring back the bike program.
“I think it is a really good thing and I like the idea of the bike,” said Chris Hoover, executive officer of Police and Safety. “Police biking is about being in the public and being seen. You can see things that are going on that you couldn’t see in a patrol car.”
Jerry Cook, police corporal, has already spent several shifts this year on the bike and has expressed interest in bringing back the program. Due to a recent promotion, Cook is in training in Minnesota but Hoover said there is a good chance students will see more bike patrol on campus.
With only nine full-time members, Hoover explained he would always make sure at least one squad car would be on patrol at all times, but would deploy the bikes when they would have extra hands or if the occasion called for it.
“Any time that we have contacted them, they show up in just a couple minutes, so I don’t think it would help response time, but I do think it would save a lot of money on gas and it would be more interactive with students,” said Amanda Miller, senior communication major and Resident Assistant.
Hoover said not only would it save money on gas, but he thinks the bike patrol would be more approachable for students.
“Most students are afraid of a car with lights on it,” said Derrick Kendrick, sophomore business major. “A person on a bike is a lot less intimidating than a squad car, and I think students are more likely to talk to a cop on a bike.”
The four members of the forces that have expressed interest in this course have the option of getting certified by the International Police Mountain Biking Association, which is available in Emporia. Hoover said the only downfall to getting certification is that it would leave them short-handed while they were going through training.
“I think a lot of it during that certification is not a 100 percent necessary to do bike patrol, but there is a lot of stuff in that program that an officer could use,” Hoover said. “They will do things like take them out to the range that could help on and off the bike,” Hoover said.
Hoover said they would only break out the bikes when weather permits or during events such as football games. Michael Shonrock, president, has expressed support to Hoover about the program and has told him they will work on funding to get the station another bike.