The Champlin Police Bike Patrol is Back!
Mountain bikes became a popular and very effective method of police patrolling in the early 1990’s. Bikes allowed officers to interact more closely with people, to get places where squad cars can’t go, and to move quietly and quickly through neighborhoods. The Champlin Police Bike Patrol disappeared several years ago as budgets became tighter. While the police found bike patrolling an effective tool, it was one of the “extras” that were eliminated as the department focused on basic services. While budgets remain tight, the Champlin community has stepped forward to help put this effective “extra” back in the police toolbox. The Champlin Crime Prevention Fund, Trailhead Cycling and Fitness, Champlin Target, and the Anoka Area Chamber of Commerce have contributed equipment, services, and training to get the program started again. On a limited basis, officers will be pulled from regular patrol, investigations and traffic enforcement and onto bike-duty. During the day time they will be visiting parks and patrolling business areas. At night they will be enforcing curfew and addressing crimes such as theft or vandalism. At the end of the summer, the program will be evaluated for effectiveness. If effective, and if resources allow, it may return as a regular service of the Champlin Police Department.
On May 28th, Bike Officers received training from Andrew Sullivan of Trailhead Cycling and Fitness, a Champlin business. Sullivan is a professionally sponsored bike racer. The training included riding over difficult terrain and basic maintenance. Trailhead has also donated equipment and service to the bike program. According to Champlin Police Chief Dave Kolb, “The bike patrol would not be a reality without the support of our community. Bike patrol gives us a chance to have more non-enforcement related contact with our residents. It also allows us to address some types of crime much more effectively.”
On Friday, June 7th the Bike Patrol had its street debut, at the Father Hennepin parade. Officers provided security and crowd control along the parade route.