Once, Elroy, in full police uniform, rode up to a bunch of kids who were planning a party.
“One of the kids hands me a flier for the party,” he said.
The kids were not happy when they realized he was a police officer. Elroy said he told them the police would make sure they partied safely.
Elroy said bikes also are an effective way to patrol mall parking lots during Christmas shopping season. Elroy served on the bike team for 11 years, and some days he still misses it.
“You could hear so much more,” he said. “You could see so much more.”
Bikes also encourage positive interactions with the public. Norman police officers have discovered they just look friendlier on bicycles — at least to kids who make that instant connection because they have bikes at home.
“We can get places regular patrol cars can’t get to and we’re a lot quieter,” said NPD bicycle team member Officer Rick Monson. “Plus we’re more approachable. People will come up and talk to us.”
Officer Tara Taylor has been a member of the bike team for six months and a Norman Police officer for two years. She had not been on a bike in years, but the opportunities the bike team provides inspired her to seek out the assignment.
Officers who want to join the bike squad must submit a letter of interest, make a 3.5 on the fitness test and shoot an 80 percent on the shooting test.
“On the bike, we’re more likely to be in shooting scenarios with a lot of people,” Monson said. “We’re not the pistol team, but we have to shoot better than the state average.”
Team members train in active shooter scenarios where someone might have a gun and is randomly shooting into a crowd or at people in a public setting. The bikes allow officers to maneuver through the crowd more easily than a car so that they can respond more quickly. Accurate shooting is key in a crowd setting.