Members of the Johnson County Sheriff’s bike patrol are (l to r): Deputy Ryan Fulks, Deputy Jonathan Keys, Lt. Thomas Reddin, Deputy Matt Brown and Deputy Tim McWilliams. Photo courtesy of JCSD

This is the first year for bike patrol as part of a community policing program at the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department.
“They patrol in Edgerton and Desoto,” said Darla Jaye, public information officer. “This was the first year we have had them. All five of our bike patrol deputies really like doing bike patrol as it is true community policing,and they like being able to be up close and personal with the public.”
The Sheriff’s Bicycle Unit will primarily patrol in Edgerton and DeSoto as well as being on hand at community events such as the Johnson County Fair. In addition, the unit deploys throughout the county in suitable areas for community events, crowd control or patrolling high crime areas in a more stealth manner than a patrol car. The bikes have emergency lights which can be seen from 360 degrees, a vehicle grade siren and a PA system, she said.
“They have the ability to do traffic stops and issue tickets,” Jaye said.
The bicycles are iForce bikes; they are purpose built patrol bikes for law enforcement,emergency medical services and fire personnel.
The officers wear a helmet meeting or exceeding the CPSC standard for bicycle safety standards, Jaye said. In addition, the officers have a uniform (polo shirt, pants/shorts, jacket and gloves) more suitable for riding a bicycle and enduring the elements and specialized shoes for riding which prevent fatigue on the arches, yet hold up to the demands of law enforcement work.
“In the near future, we are looking at getting a hand’s free radio device, so we can communicate with dispatch via the radio without taking a hand off of the handlebars,” Jaye said.
Officers are certified through a rigorous training course developed by IPMBA (International Police Mountain Bike Association). The week long course exposes the officers to all types of demanding terrain which includes going up and down staircases and maneuvering through various obstacles.
The training helps the officers respond to situations or move through crowds quickly and safely. In addition to this one time certification, officers will participate in quarterly training as a unit by conducting in-house obstacle courses and firearms range qualifications.
“As the commander of the bicycle unit, I am very excited and pleased with the current and future benefits of the unit,” said Lt. Thomas Reddin. “From a patrol aspect, it provides us a better opportunity to get close to the people we serve. Rather than driving by in a car and waving, I have noticed firsthand how our community responds to and appreciates seeing and talking to bike officers.”
At community events, Reddin said, the patrol is able to get through the crowds faster and cover more area than the normal foot patrol officer, which provides the ability to get to lost children, injured patrons and various other types of emergency calls more quickly.
Deputy Jonathan Keys also sees an advantage in becoming acquainted with the community.
“Bicycle patrol provides a unique opportunity to interact with the community,” he said. “It’s a great way to meet people and try to make a positive impression on kids who seem to relate much better to a deputy on a bicycle.”
There is currently no set schedule of when and where the officers ride, Jaye said. “As the unit expands, it is our hope that they will be seen in the community more frequently (weather permitting).”