The Norman Transcript

Government

November 3, 2013

Bicycles big assist in community policing

(Continued)

NORMAN —

The bike squad works many large public events such as OU home football games, Fourth of July at Reaves Park, Fall Festival, Medieval Fair, Jazz in June and parades.

“It’s also preventative. People see us there and won’t commit the crime,” Monson said.

“It’s a visual deterrent,” Taylor said.

Being selected is only the first portion of the process. Officers have to train to be on the bike team and training can be rigorous.

“You do a lot of things on the bike I didn’t think was possible,” Monson said.

Master Police Officer Jeff Casillas is the bike team mechanic. He attended a week-long school in Louisiana to learn bike maintenance. Officers are supposed to do minor maintenance like changing tires on their own, but Casillas does the more complicated repairs. Lt. Brent Barbour is the other bike maintenance officer on the team.

Bike team members were the first on the scene when an apparently disturbed young man had explosives blow up in his backpack while sitting on a bench just outside the stadium during a home football day on Oct. 1, 2005.

Those officers assisted in establishing a perimeter and looking for other potential suspects.

“It gives us an opportunity to get out and interact with the public in ways we normally wouldn’t get to,” Shattuck said. “We have a lot of camaraderie within our team. We enjoy spending time together.”

Barbour has been on the team for close to nine years.

“Our bike team can use their bikes on patrol,” Shattuck said. “They’ll get out during their patrol time if they’re not taking calls, and they’ll patrol schools and apartment complexes or anywhere we have high crime areas.”

It’s not uncommon for bike team members catch criminals red-handed.

“People who are participating in criminal activities don’t recognize us until we’re right there,” Barbour said. “You can hear things, you can smell things, you can locate a lot more stuff on a bike than you can on a car.”

Joy Hampton

366-3544

jhampton@

normantranscript.com

 

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