Bicycle Patrol Division
The Willimantic Police Department Bike Patrol was established in 2001 as a program to help get Officers into the community in a more approachable, accessible way. Throughout the 1990’s and early 2000’s Police Departments nationwide began putting Officers on bikes to patrol neighborhoods and housing complexes, recognizing that in certain circumstances an Officer on a patrol bike is more visible, and more engaged, than an Officer in a patrol cruiser driving on the streets.
Over a decade later, the Willimantic Police Department Bike Patrol continues with the mission of high visibility community policing, patrolling all areas of City during the summer months. Bicycle Patrol Officers are a common sight on Main Street in the downtown business district, West Avenue, the Airline Trail Bike Path, and the Garden Bridge, and are responsible for patrol checks of higher crime neighborhoods, or areas of the City where residents have expressed concern about the impacts of drug dealing and drug-related crime. However, Bike Patrol Officers handle all types of other calls as well, and have responded to motor vehicle accidents, domestic disputes, and disturbance complaints, conducting investigations and making arrests just as other Patrol Officers do.
“For a City the size of Willimantic, the Police Bike is a perfect tool for patrolling just about any area” said Sergeant Matthew Solak, a seven year veteran of the Willimantic Police Bike Patrol. “The visibility we have, and the engagement we get from the community is a great take-away for the Department, and, depending on where we are in the City, we can frequently beat a cruiser to a call, simply because we can ride places the car can’t get to.”
All Willimantic Police Bicycle Patrol Officers are graduates of the International Police Mountain Bike Association (IPMBA) Bike Patrol Officer course, which is a rigorous five day school that involves over 100 miles of riding in the course of the week. The school incorporates advanced riding skills, close quarters riding, collision avoidance, and defensive tactics and firearms training as well. Additionally, each Willimantic Police Bike Patrol Officer receives instruction on basic bicycle maintenance, and assists in the upkeep of the Department’s fleet of Trek Mountain Bikes.
The Willimantic Police Department Bicycle Patrol is an integral part of the Department’s community-policing model, and strives to continue to serve the community in an accessible and approachable manner while vigilantly patrolling the City streets during the summer months.
Bike Patrol Officers conduct a series of drills involving riding techniques and firearms tactics on 8/14/2015.