Bike patrol aims to save on fuel costs

By Sarah Meyer, PNT Staff Writer

Some Portales police officers are taking to the streets on two wheels this summer.

Outfitted in bright yellow shirts along with shorts, the bike patrol officers mostly will patrol parks and business areas, according to Capt. Lonnie Berry of the Portales Police Department.

The program was revived this year in response to high gas prices and in order to get officers more involved in the community, Berry said.

The bike patrol is not new.

It was in place for about five years until last year, Berry said, so the department already had the bicycles.

Six patrolmen are participating and will be out anytime from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m., depending on shift coverage, Berry said. At least two officers have to be available in cars on any given shift, he said.

At least two and as many as five of the department’s 16 officers are on patrol during each shift, according to a dispatcher.

“They are more involved in the community because they can make more contact with people,” Berry said. “The kids really like them.”

And the bicycle patrolmen have been able to respond quickly to situations when they are nearby, he said.

Patrol officer Kane Wyatt, who has been with the department three years, said he enjoys patrolling on a bicycle because it gives him a chance to better interact with the public and puts him in an environment with less distractions.

Bike patrols will be used during Heritage Days, the Fourth of July celebration (which will be held July 3 this year) and other special events, Berry said.