icycle patrol officers

should train for using force and be able to articulate the circum- stances of force. An officer on a bicycle may be in a special cir- cumstance that affects the level of force required. Trainers must develop plans that address bike of- ficer contacts and appropriate use of force. Officers should call out contact as

early as possible and radio their loca- tion with as much detail as possible. Bike officers often end up behind buildings, or between obvious land- marks. The officer should broadcast the number of people and request backup if needed. It is usually best practice to dismount from the patrol bike when approaching a suspicious person. Face to face contact is safer if the officer has fewer distractions. Holding a handlebar or having a foot in a pedal can delay reaction time or cause a physical disadvantage in a sudden attack. Bike officers should be well-versed

in slow speed maneuvering. The logical result of slow-speed patrol is to watch suspects—hands, move- ments, and scanning for weapons or contraband. A simple exercise is to ride slowly in low-risk situations and watch people, watch their hands. Basic situational awareness becomes slightly harder when riding a bicycle; practice should hone the skills of the bicycle patrol officer. Officers should disengage their right

foot from pedal retention, swing the right foot onto the left side of the bicy- cle, place the right foot in front of the left foot (leg will be between bicycle and the left foot) and step off of the bike by placing the right foot on the ground in front of the left leg, then dis- engaging the left leg from the pedal. Once off of the bicycle, the officer uses a foot to engage the kickstand and can walk away from the bike.

Train for the emergency dismount. While engaging the kickstand, it is

best practice to hold the bike with the reactionary (non-weapon) hand. This is a lengthy and seemingly drawn-out way of stepping off of the bike, but it is a balanced method and lends itself to emergency dismounts and transi- tioning to using force. Limiting the method of stopping and dismounting builds a safer, more tactically sound practice that enhances reaction time.

Emergency Dismount The Emergency Dismount begins in the same manner as the basic dismount, but the bicycle is discarded instead of keeping the bicycle upright with the kickstand. Once the right foot hits the ground, the left foot is disengaged and the officer continues moving forward on foot (either in a run, fast walk, or immediately stepping into a defensive posture or weapons stance). The patrol bicycle is left to fall, and the focus is on the ‘threat.’ Master the skill of the emergency dismount before practicing at high speeds. Consider that a slow moving bicycle is generally as fast or faster than movement on foot. The purpose of practicing emergency tactics is to enhance officer safety—officers should

not ride or practice above their ability. Develop skill before speed. The emergency dismount will likely

cause some damage to the bicycle (handlebar grips and pedals hit first, light systems and gear bags may jolt loose), so the emergency dismount drills should be done on a grassy area or other forgiving surface. Low Risk contact is practiced by

having a police cyclist use a basic dis- mount and demonstrate proper inter- view stance, situational awareness, and a safe reactionary gap. Mastery of low-risk tactics lends itself to medium and high-risk tactics. Practice radio traffic, basic dismounts, command presence, and professional demeanor. Medium or Unknown Risk contact is practiced in the same way as the low- risk contact. Instructors should cover the importance of requesting backup, keeping hands free, and the placement of the patrol bicycle relating to situ- ational awareness.

Fleeing Suspect The Fleeing Suspect Drill/Contact is practiced in various ways. One way is if the police cyclist is on patrol alone and the other is practiced in pairs or multiple officers. Suspects may run 51

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