Orem deploys new police bike patrol
Officers Nathan Newell, from left, Michael Paraskeva, Cpl. James Vance, and Officer Chris Watson pose for a portrait with their new patrol bikes at Mount Timpanogos Park on Friday, August 31, 2012. Along with Officer Shaps Tripp (not pictured), they make up the Orem Police Department's new dedicated bike patrol unit. JIM MCAULEY/Daily Herald
September 01, 2012 12:25 am ē Jim Dalrymple - Daily Herald
OREM -- In July, a man jumped out onto a dark trail in Orem and grabbed a female jogger. The man tried to tear away the woman's clothing, police say, but she managed to fend the would-be rapist off and escape.
Though the woman walked away with few lasting physical scars, the incident was just the latest in a string of attacks on Utah Valley trails. In response, the Orem Department of Public Safety recently unveiled a new weapon to improve safety: bicycles.
According to Sgt. Craig Martinez, five officers have been assigned to a new bike patrol that began operating in earnest Friday. The officers will continue to drive cars, but those cars will be fitted with racks and bikes. Whenever the officers have time, they'll get out of their cars and start riding. Perhaps best of all, Martinez said, the program is being rolled out with minimal cost to the city.
"The majority of the cost was funded by a private citizen," Martinez explained. "It's been very minimal cost to us, which is good."
Martinez said one of the primary reasons for the new program is to keep the trails safe. Each patrol will have a bike officer, and each bike officer will spend time riding trials.
"If people know we have these bikes they may be less likely to do something up there on the trail," Martinez said.
For Cpl. James Vance, being on the bike patrol means as much as two or three hours of riding a night. Vance supervises the new bike officers and works a graveyard shift of his own. He said when things start to get slow at about 2 or 3 a.m. he gets on his bike and starts riding.
"It allows us to see things we wouldn't otherwise see in a vehicle," Vance said.
According to Martinez, Vance and the other bike officers were chosen from a large pool of interested applicants. Roughly 25 officers applied, Martinez explained, though only five were chosen. The application process included submitting a letter to department officials. Preference was given to officers with cycling experience.
Recently, Vance -- who said he grew up on a bike and has been riding for years -- has patrolled apartment complexes and city streets on his bike, emphasizing the citywide nature of the bike patrols. Martinez further explained that though the bikes will help on the trails, they'll also be a valuable addition to the city's police force for preventing crimes like vehicle burglaries and property crime.
The officers have new uniforms specifically designed for cycling and will be riding locally-sourced Fezzari bikes. Vance described them as high-quality, mountain bike-style machines. He also said that in the hands of his team of bike officers, they should help the department make the city safer.
"They'll be a great asset," Vance said.
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09-02-2012, 08:05 PM #1
Orem deploys new police bike patrolFront line since 1983 and still going strong
09-02-2012, 08:07 PM #2
Some Photos of the guysFront line since 1983 and still going strong
10-18-2012, 12:29 AM #3
Stolen police bike recovered behind pawn shop
By Stephanie Grimes
October 17th, 2012 @ 4:52pm
Fearless thief steals bike from Orem officer's patrol car
MIDVALE — A bicycle stolen off an Orem Police Department patrol car in Lehi was found Tuesday behind a Midvale pawn shop.
A person noticed the bike behind the pawn shop at about 2 p.m. Tuesday and recognized it from reports of the missing custom-built Fezzari Wasatch Peak, according to Lt. Justin Hoyal with the Unified Police Department. The person notified Unified police, and an officer recovered the bike from the pawn shop, located at about 50 West and 7200 South.
Unified officers turned the bike over to Orem police along with any information they had, according to Hoyal. Orem police said the only thing missing was the police bag that had been on the back of the bike. No suspects had been named as of Wednesday.
The bike had been stolen Oct. 9 while a patrol car was parked in front of an officer's Lehi home, according to the Orem Police Department. The heavy-duty bike cable securing it had been cut.
Anyone with information should contact Lehi police at 801-765-7110.Front line since 1983 and still going strong
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