Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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January 21, 2013

Cops on bikes are key to campus safety

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Mounted officers are better able to use all of their senses, including smell and hearing, to detect and address crime, according to the IPMBA. Bike patrol officers are often able to approach suspects unnoticed, even in full uniform.

Terry said it allows them to patrol the interior campus, unnoticed or in what he described as stealth mode.

Often times, that leads to citations for public intoxication or underage consumption for students caught walking back to their dorms through campus .

The job requires officers to be in good physical condition, particularly with leg strength and cardio. Many of the officers are already physically fit, something Terry said is necessary to complete the rigorous, one-week certification course.

The class is valuable because they learn how to ride a bike from the law enforcement standpoint, which includes dismounting during a chase and how to position a bike when confronting a vehicle or suspect.

Officers on bike patrol usually ride in pairs and rotate on a 24-hour schedule year-round, excluding inclement winter weather.

The bike patrol's biggest asset is the interaction they get with people on campus and in the community, Ballou said. They are more approachable and engage more easily with students, staff and parents, he said.

"I think the community policing aspect," Ballou said of the patrol's value to him. "It got me to interact with more people in the community."

Jeff's Bike Shop in Huntington handles all the maintenance and purchase of bikes. Ballou also said that Redman Bingo and Eagle Distributing have provided cash donations in the past year to help purchase two new bikes.

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