During Saturday’s Homestead Days Parade, you’ll likely to see some Beatrice police officers on bike patrol.
Chief Bruce Lang says the pedal-powered two-wheelers are typically used during the overnight shift, when most people are sleeping.
“The reason we can only do it at certain times is due to staffing,” Chief Lang says. “While the bike patrol guy can handle calls and be effective, obviously it presents challenges if you have to go a long distance or transport somebody, but it works great for special events.”
Lang says bike patrol officers will work alleys and business districts during the nighttime hours, and the method has proved successful.
“We’ve actually made drunk driving arrests on bike patrol in the past,” Lang says. “It has produced some arrests but primarily it’s just a security kind of thing.”
Advance planning has become a standard for community events. Lang says the reality for police departments is, if a safe environment can’t be provided, the event isn’t held.
“The difference now is, with all the terrorism talk, most places are willing to put forth whatever resources law enforcement thinks they need,” Lang says. “I just read that there’s going to be a World Cup Soccer game in Europe someplace and they had 90,000 officers dedicated to it. That’s almost one officer per person that’s there.”
Lang says ten years ago, the level of security required today would have been seen as absurd.
As for Saturday, Lang says there will be two or three officers on bike patrol at the Homestead Days Parade among other officers keeping watch.
By Doug Kennedy, KWBE, Beatrice