Come September, Uvalde Police Department officers may be patrolling city streets with a fleet of new wheels – bicycles.
Uvalde Police Chief Daniel Rodriguez recently announced plans to create a part-time bicycle patrol squad in an effort to increase officer mobility, cut down the crime rate and expand police presence within the community.
In addition to a stealth advantage, Rodriguez noted subjects fleeing on foot will most likely not outrun an officer on a bicycle.
“We plan to utilize bicycle patrol during Four Square Friday, parades, local events or festivities, and to assist Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District police with outer perimeter patrol of the Honey Bowl during football games,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez said he will also deploy bicycle patrolmen to neighborhoods noting increased reports of burglaries or other crimes.
“At night, bicycles aren’t as noticeable as patrol units,” Rodriguez said. “You’d be surprised what you can hear from the outside – car racing, etc.”
The bicycle patrol squad will be made up of four officers, who will serve in addition to their current roles as vehicle patrol officers.
An application period will be held within the next few months, as Rodriguez hopes to send selected officers to a week-long training in San Antonio or San Marcos this summer.
“They will have to submit a letter of interest and undergo an interview if there are more than four applicants,” Rodriguez said.
Training will cover a variety of techniques and skills including tactics to approaching people, bicycle repair and maintenance, night operations and what to do in the event of a chase.
“The physical portion of the training is rigorous, and I’m sure the academic portion is equally as tough,” Rodriguez said.
In addition to training, implementing the bicycle patrol squad in September also allows the department time to purchase bicycles, which range in cost of between $500 to several thousand dollars.
“The bicycles we are looking at are $1,500. They are certified police bicycles, lightweight and equipped with everything we need,” Rodriguez said, adding that the bicycles also feature lights.