Red Deer RCMP are back in the bike saddle.
RCMP Cpl. Karyn Kay said this year 19 members were trained — 10 RCMP officers, six community police offices and three auxiliary constables.
The detachment has six mountain bikes that give officers the freedom to travel city streets, alleys, sidewalks and trails.
“It helps us do enforcement in places where the cars can’t normally get to. It also is for visibility in the downtown core which is a priority for the city,” Kay said last week.
“We want to clean up our downtown and make sure that we’re visible to people.”
At any time, day or night, a pair of police members or more, wearing shorts with a yellow stripe down the side and bullet-proof vests, can be patrolling around Red Deer.
“We can do street enforcement, traffic enforcement, anything on our bikes.”
She said one of the big benefits of bike patrols in fighting crime is the ability to quickly and quietly sneak up on suspects.
“If we had a car we’re loud, you can see us coming. If we’re on a bike you can’t.”
Members are trained to manoeuvre to move quickly, as well as how to use their bikes for protection if necessary, she said.
Kay said crime mapping helps members decide where to patrol based on the crime statistics.
“The more of us that are there, the less crime that’s happening.”
Patrols are out as soon as the snow melts in the spring and continue until snow returns in the fall. They attend community events like Canada Day and Westerner Days, and more.
Red Deer RCMP began patrolling the city’s park system back in 1991 using two stolen bikes whose owners were never found. Trails remain a focus today.
“We don’t want people to be vulnerable out on the trail systems in Red Deer so we make sure we’re on the trails.”