JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. –
628th Security Forces Squadron Airmen can be spotted guarding entry points to the installation, providing security on Joint Base Charleston's shoreline, and conducting runs in their "patrol vehicles," but beginning August 2012, SFS Airmen will be seen offering security via bicycles.
The 628th SFS will implement the new Bike Patrol program next month to help provide increased coverage on JB Charleston, particularly within the base housing areas on the Air Base and Weapons Station.
"It [bike patrol] will not replace Airmen in patrol cars, but instead, enhance the capabilities of the Airmen in keeping the base populace safe," said Senior Master Sgt. Donald Hart, 628th SFS operations superintendent.
"There is a different perspective gained from being outside the patrol vehicle," said Steven Sykes, 628th SFS civilian law enforcement officer. "On a bike you can hear more, see more, and get to places that patrol vehicles cannot."
The use of these types of patrols will increase coverage, improve community relations and deter crime, said Hart.
"Bike patrols will also increase maneuverability in certain circumstances and allow for better coverage of residential areas," he added.
"With the construction of new homes on the JB Charleston community and the vast areas at the Naval Weapons Station, the Bike Patrol will be essential in community policing and community relations," said Sykes. "This will offer a more face-to-face with the community. It will build trust and rapport with the families."
More than 10 Airmen have received in-house training for this extension of 628th SFS law enforcement vehicle patrol, which consisted of 40 hours of training through the Law Enforcement Bicycle Association.
"The training also covered nutrition, injuries, balance drills, training rides, emergency braking, police technical skills, a tactical firearms training course and a written examination," said Hart.
Each SFS Airman on bike patrol duty will be equipped with a 24-speed bike and outfitted in a black and blue uniform. Also, the equipment used in patrol cars will be available for Bike Patrol Airmen.
"The bike patrol is a great form of community policing. It's a unique opportunity for the patrolmen and the community to interact on an individual basis and to get to know one another," said Lt. Col. Frances Dorish, 628th SFS commander. "The patrolmen become more approachable and the community can actually start to recognize and talk with individual Security Forces members. In the end, it can help us with our law enforcement duties as we may receive information that doesn't necessarily seem important in and of itself but may fit into a larger picture."