One of the fastest growing trends in law enforcement today is utilization of mountain bicycles. Quiet, cost efficient, and amazingly effective, mountain bikes are able to bridge the gap between automobiles and foot patrol. Experience has shown that citizens are more likely to approach a bike patrol officer than even a neighborhood beat officer, optimizing community oriented or problem oriented policing efforts. Bicycle officers are better able to use all of their senses, including smell and hearing, to detect and address crime. Bike patrol officers are often able to approach suspects virtually unnoticed, even in full uniform.
Mountain bikes have proven effective in a number of different environments. They are swift and agile in busy urban areas where traffic snarls and crowds delay motorized units. Bikes are also effective in less urban areas for park patrol, parking lots, campus areas, residential patrol, business security and specialized details. They can be operated on streets, sidewalks, alleys, trails, and in any areas that are difficult to access with motor vehicles.
The Forest Park Bike Unit started in 1999 with two Patrol Officers and two specially outfitted mountain bikes. Over the next ten years the unit has grown to nine patrol bikes and over 14 Officers have successfully completed the grueling 4 day International Police Mountain Bike Association Certification Course. In recent years the Police Department has also acquired a segway which was added to the bike unit. Weather permitting; The Forest Park Police Department regularly utilizes the bike unit on all three shifts and at most special events.