Bike Patrol

Missionbicycle unit

The mission of the Norristown Police Department Bicycle Patrol unit is to enhance and facilitate patrol and police operations, due to numerous advantages over standard motorized patrol. Bicycle patrol officers, also referred to as police cyclists, are an important component of NPD's strategy for accomplishing its enforcement objectives due to their mobility and stealth, as well as their ability to facilitate a variety of law enforcement and crime prevention operations.

Advantages of Bicycle Patrol

Bicycle patrols have several advantages over other modes of patrol that make them appealing in protecting communities and preventing crime. 

  • Awareness- Police cyclists are better able to use all of their senses to detect crime, public disorder, or calls for help. Officers on bicycles are more aware of their surroundings and can employ their senses of smell and hearing to full advantage. They can use these senses to detect situations that would be overlooked by personnel in motor vehicles. 
  • Accessibility and Maneuverability- In congested areas, the police cyclist can respond quickly to priority calls for service because the officer can maneuver easily between vehicles, take shortcuts through alleys and parks, and travel on sidewalks. The ability to navigate through areas inaccessible to motor vehicles can be critical in reducing response time and meeting operational objectives. In addition, bicycles have easy access to parks, nature trails, multi-use pathways, sporting/event complexes, and numerous similar venues. Bicycle patrol officers in parking lots and structures are able to ride virtually unnoticed among parked motor vehicles, gaining easy visual access to vehicle interiors and serving as an effective deterrent to vehicle break-ins. 
  • Approachability- Police officers who patrol residential areas, mobile home communities, apartment complexes, business districts, schools, and campuses on bicycles are far more approachable to the public than those in cars. This often leads to improved communication between officers and civilians, which may include information pertaining to recent criminal activity. A civilian who is approached by a bicycle patrol officer in a common enforcement capacity is less likely to feel apprehensive and is often more communicative and cooperative. Business owners often develop personal connections with the police cyclists who patrol their districts, creating an atmosphere of safety that helps attract and retain patrons. 
  • Cost Efficiency- A cost-benefit analysis comparing bicycles to motor vehicles would show that the benefits provided by bicycles come at a lower cost when considering purchase price of the bicycle and accessories, maintenance costs, fuel cost, and life expectancy. Seven to ten bicycle patrol personnel can be equipped with bicycles and full uniforms for the price of one patrol car. Bicycles do not require costly fuel to operate, which can offer substantial savings. 
  • Environmental Benefits- Bicycles do not create air or noise pollution, do not add to traffic congestion, and take up few, if any, parking spaces. They can be carried on bicycle racks and used to supplement motorized vehicles, reducing the amount of shift time the car engine is running and emitting pollutants.

Training

Each officer authorized to function as a bike patrol officer must complete an intensive course of specialized training in which the officer learns how to take their bike over various terrains and obstacles, as well as learning evasive maneuvers and collision avoidance.

Staffing and Equipmkoz1ent

The Norristown Police Bicycle Patrol Unit currently consists of six trained Officers, who serve part-time on the bicycle unit in addition to their full time duties. They are equipped with special, high-visibility uniforms as well as both traditional bicycles and NPD's newest addition to the unit, three e-bikes, which are marked with Corporal Brian Kozera's badge number, in memory of our fallen brother.

Questions?

For any questions regarding the NPD's bicycle unit, please email Cpl Bianchimano here.