Above: Officers Chad Stemen, Shelby Humphries, Brittany Monroe, Traci Sperry, Ryan Kuhn, Jayson Young. Not pictured: Supervisor Sgt. Chad Pride.
If you’ve been in East Lansing the past couple of years, you might have noticed ELPD officers riding around on bikes at certain events and not thought much of it. However, special training is required for officers to ride.
The training lasts 40 hours, and is broken up into four or five days. While there is field training that includes many basic skills such as learning to fire a gun while riding and riding both up and down stairs, there is also instruction that goes on in a classroom. Once an officer is certified to patrol on a bike, they don’t ever have to recertify. Sgt. Chad Pride, ELPD Bicycle Unit Supervisor and training officer, said he holds training days regularly so officers can refresh themselves on basic skills. Pride is certified to teach by the International Police Mountain Bike Association (IPMBA).
Pride said the bicycle unit was established in the late 90s or early 2000s. It used to be that every officer was trained to do patrols on a bike, but then due to attrition and cutbacks, the bike program went away. In the past three or four years the bike program has come back into use. The ELPD currently has seven officers who are trained on bikes, but hopes to increase that number by two or three in the next couple of years.
Pride said there are many benefits of having a bike program. Bikes can be purchased for about $1,000, and this is much cheaper than buying a police car. He said “It’s a cost effective way of policing,” and that it’s also better for the environment because the officers are burning less fuel.
He also pointed out that when police officers do their patrols on bikes it brings them closer to the community. When they ride on bikes, it brings them face to face with people, giving them an opportunity for more interaction while doing their regular duties.
With thanks to the ELPD/City of East Lansing for the photos.