Meriden officers on bike patrol seek to increase interaction with community

reporter photo

MERIDEN — The officers of the Neighborhood Initiative Unit are patrolling the streets on bicycles as a way to increase interactions with residents, and be more approachable. 

The bicycle program re-started about six years ago and has typically been paired with the neighborhood initiative, or community policing, Sgt. Vasco Lacerda said Monday. There is no set time frame for when the officers are on the bicycles, as long as the weather is conducive they can use them as a tool for their patrols, Lacerda said. 

“It’s a good blend between foot patrol and being in a car because you still have a little bit of a faster response time than on foot,” Officer Cary Maikranz said. “But you’re stealthy at the same time and easily approachable.”

The other officers in the bicycle program are Officers Mike Ford, Michael Shedlock, Chris Griffin, Maikranz and Adam Kery.

Shedlock said the patrol officers don’t usually have the ability to take the bicycle out and be committed to it for hours at a time. 

“It’s a little more difficult to have patrol get on the bikes,” Lacerda said.

The officers said there are benefits to doing the bicycle patrols and some similarities to foot patrols. If they need to take someone into custody, they would call for a backup unit, but being on the bicycle allows them easier access to some areas.

In downtown where there are many one way streets, being on the bicycle can be an asset if they need to get somewhere quickly. They are also more approachable to residents and children come up to them a lot more, Ford said. 

Shedlock said many times residents don’t realize there is an officer approaching them because they look for the cruisers. Vasco said the officers are also promoting bicycle safety with the children and handing out coupons for free ice cream with a partnership at McDonald’s. 

The officers often use bicycles at special events like parades and the Daffodil Festival. They are good for getting through crowds, Vasco said.
Twitter: @LaurenSellewRJ


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