Crime shows such as Law and Order and the CSI franchise have painted a very inaccurate picture of the modern-day cop, officers in Emporia, Kansas say:
Not all patrolling in Emporia is done from the inside of a patrol car. Officer Jeff Eubank is a member of the bike patrol, which started in 1993. Officers have to apply for the patrol, and it takes a unique individual who is assertive and can speak publicly as well, Eubank said.
“I feel lucky and privileged to be able to go out and do what I enjoy doing,” he said. “My big passion down here is the bike patrol.”
The department has three full-time bike officers. The duties vary by shift. The day shift includes school talks, community talks and general patrolling. The night shift officers see a wide variety of duties as well. Duties on either shift can be anything from bad check issues to parking issues and making arrests. The only thing they can’t do is transport someone other than themselves.
Bike officers have a strong presence at events such as the Farmers Market and Live in the Lot. They also make it a habit to check up on businesses.
Eubank said bike officers are more approachable.
“There’s a lot more interaction with the public,” he said. “You don’t have the car between you. We try to do as much as we can with talking to people. We give a lot of safety talks.”
On an average day, a bike officer can put 20 miles on his bikes.
“It kind of varies,” Eubank said. “If you’ve got a lot of miles you’ve probably haven’t had a busy day.”
When buying a bike for a patrol officer, Eubank said departments need to decide how visible they want the bikes to be. The Emporia Police Department has chosen the stealth side, with lower-profile bikes.
Emporia has had a bicycle patrol since 1993, and each year its officers teach a “bicycle cop” course to new bike officers from around the state. For this sort of training, Emporia is the place to be — Kansas only has three instructors and two of them are there.
“Most officers are not avid cyclists,” Lt. John Koelsch, one of the bike patrol instructors said, and it can take a while to get used to bike patrol, and it’s not as simple as mounting the bike and zooming off. At the week-long course, officers learn how to ride up stairs, how to use the bike for cover, even how to shoot with bicycle gloves on.
Post tags: Emporia