A blog for better streets and public spaces in Portland, Maine.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bikes on the Beat

A nice article in today's Portland Press Herald profiles two of the Portland Police Department's bicycle patrolmen, who ride year-round, rain or shine, and have some of the best arrest records in the department.

Officers Dan Knight (left) and Karl Geib (right). Photo from the Portland Press Herald.

While a lot of police officers isolate themselves from their neighborhoods inside the shell of a patrol car, bike patrols are able to interact more with people on the street. The article quotes Lt. Bill Preis, the officers' supervisor: "It allows a lot of face-to-face contact with citizens, which is positive for the police department and the community, and it's also a very effective enforcement tool because they're able to sneak up on people."

The article covers the officers' heroic rescue of a vintage bike that was stolen from local mechanic Percy Wheeler. Bike geeks will also enjoy the article's descriptions of the department's patrol bikes, which include studded tires for winter riding and a silent rear hub.

I'd say that this article is also one of the better "public safety" stories I've seen in the PPH in recent times - a good profile of two officers, and an open-and-shut crime story thrown in too. Maybe our news reporters should spend more time on the bike beat as well.

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