In 1992, Michigan State University Department of Police and Public Safety established a bicycle patrol unit. The unit consisted of three officers who were limited to fair weather riding due to the limitations of their equipment.
In January 1998, MSU Police upgraded the bicycle unit in order to increase bicycle patrol time. Four new 21-speed Trek Police Mountain bikes were purchased along with the latest high tech foul weather gear.
MSU Police currently has four bicycle officers in the unit and one sergeant. All bicycle officers attend a rigorous 40 hour Police Mountain Bike Patrol training program which certifies them as a bicycle officer.
The bike unit is operated on all shifts during most of the months of March through October. The unit enforces bike and pedestrian violations, monitors areas for crime and safety concerns, addresses problems with skateboarders or roller-bladers, and also does public presentations on bicycle safety and security issues. In addition, the unit participates in safety awareness rides in the community and provides escorts to fundraising events.
Bicycle Unit officers are encouraged to ride as often as possible and to interact with the community as they do so. It is a very positively received community based policing technique that allows us to get into "one on one" contact with our community. We also have been successful in apprehending persons committing crimes against the members of our community.
MSU Police believes the Community Policing concept can be even further enhanced by putting officers on a bicycle in their assigned Community Policing area. This has worked well for the Department, the Campus community, and for the officers.
The bicycle unit has been very beneficial in patrol of areas not accessible by police vehicles. These areas include large wooded natural areas and the many sidewalks not visible from a patrol vehicle on this very large and beautiful campus. Bicycle patrol has been useful for crime prevention efforts in the parking ramps and the many parking lots on the Campus.