Officers ditch patrol cars for bicycles - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Officers ditch patrol cars for bicycles

School Resource Officers become certified to patrol on bikes. School Resource Officers become certified to patrol on bikes.
Officers on bikes have the same duties and equipment as officers in patrol vehicles. Officers on bikes have the same duties and equipment as officers in patrol vehicles.
Thomasville Police bicycles Thomasville Police bicycles
Major Eric Hampton Major Eric Hampton
Officer Chris Baggett Officer Chris Baggett
THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) -  Police in Thomasville are leaving their patrol cars and riding bicycles instead.

It's part of a new initiative to increase the capabilities of the city's School Resource Officers.

Gang Investigator Dominic Ford and Officer Chris Baggett geared up for another day patrolling downtown Thomasville.

Riding around town in two wheels instead of four. 

Officer Baggett said, “We can drive through parking lots on the bicycles.  Riding through real slow and real quiet.  If somebody is breaking into cars or breaking into a house, they'll never even see us, until we're right on top of them.”

The Chief of Police recently decided to send three School Resource Officers to a certification course taught by the International Police Mountain Bike Association. 

Major Eric Hampton said, “Safety is our priority around our schools.  So we want to make sure we have them moving about so they can be seen more.”

That increased visibility has already proven to create a better relationship between the police and the community. 

“It makes us seem approachable.  And they just see us riding the bikes, and everybody rides bicycles.  So everybody thinks it's fun.  They want to talk to us. They want to tell us what's going on in the neighborhood,” Officer Baggett said. 

But make no mistake, these officers have the same equipment and duties as regular officers.  

“Only difference is that we wear an exterior vest and we wear shorts.  And sneakers instead of boots.  That's the only difference between us and an officer in a patrol vehicle,” said Officer Baggett.

The Chief plans to incorporate more bicycles into the department, creating a full bike team in the upcoming months. 

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