The Irvine Police Department Bicycle Team
The Irvine Police Department utilizes bicycle patrol officers in many different capacities. Several positions within the Department’s organizational structure require bicycle operation as part of their routine patrol responsibilities such as our Business Community Officers, Spectrum Center Patrol and School Resource Officers. Other bicycle operations are staffed by officers who volunteer for training and are selected for deployments based on crime trends or events requiring the unique qualities bicycle patrol offers.
Of course, there are ancillary benefits such as fitness and energy savings but the agility and personal contact offered by a bicycle are the real value to a community based department such as Irvine.
The Irvine Spectrum Center is home to more than one million square feet of retail and entertainment. From tip to tip the center’s property stretches one mile and can be difficult to traverse during peak hours due to heavy vehicle and pedestrian traffic in the center and in the parking lots and structures. Bicycles offer faster response times and access to routes unavailable to vehicles or too far for foot travel.
Irvine provides School Resource Officers to six high school campuses in two school districts. Bicycles offer these officers the ability to navigate the trails, pathways, green belts and parks surrounding their campuses providing enforcement support to school personnel and safety for the students.
In 2010, the Department developed a position engaged specifically with our business community. The Business Community Officers conduct outreach such as crime prevention, nuisance abatement and supplemental enforcement and patrol functions in and around business complexes and shopping centers in Irvine. These officers use bicycles as their primary patrol vehicle as they combine efficient travel through the complexes with the added benefit of face-to-face contact with business owners, employees and patrons. These relationships have already begun to pay dividends in the way of increased communications and information sharing.
The most recent addition to or bicycle operations is the Open Space Preserve patrols. These patrols are dedicated to maintaining the safety and security of Irvine’s Bommer Canyon. These bike officers traverse the trails and tracks on mountainous terrain enforcing unlawful access into restricted areas and preventing vandalism as well an unintentional damage to this pristine State Preserve.
In addition to the permanent positions utilizing bicycle patrol, directed enforcement teams are often deployed to address specific crime trends as they may emerge. For example, last year Irvine, like many communities, experienced a number of copper wire thefts from public areas. Officers utilizing bicycles were very successful in the apprehension of suspects engaged in this type of theft. The use of the bicycles with their stealth and easy access to the pathways has been the key to catching more than one thief in the act.
Many of our bicycle officers volunteer for events such as community bike rodeos and bicycle safety outreach. They present to students and provide information to clubs and other community organizations. The Irvine Police Department also hosts and provides POST Certified training for other law enforcement agencies.
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