A group of deputies with the Walton County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) recently attended a three day bike patrol course in South Walton. Members of the WCSO POP (Problem Oriented Policing) Squad were chosen for the class and were trained in various riding techniques and scenarios involving obstacles which test both the technical aspects, as well as judgment skills of the riders. A written exam was also administered. Deputies logged in over 26 miles during the training, riding along the major highways and by-ways. Trainers from local law enforcement agencies facilitated the training.
According to Captain Brian Schultz, who participated in the course, this is the first bike squad the WCSO has incorporated into their patrols. “We feel that the use of proactive bike patrol is just another tool in locating and fighting criminal activity,” Schultz said. “Deputies began their patrols a couple of nights ago in several different areas of the county. People were pleasantly surprised to see our presence on bikes in their neighborhoods.” Members of the bike squad were also recently called out to assist in locating a female lost in the woods in the area of Linton Road.
Captain Michael Howell, another agency member who attended the training, stated there are many benefits in having a bike patrol, for both Agency and the community. “Bike patrols can go where traditional patrol vehicles can’t. This is one of the biggest advantages. They have the ability to navigate swiftly around communities, avoiding obstacles and hazards that would stop or slow vehicle patrols. Bicycle patrols also result in more than twice as many contacts with the public than vehicle patrols.” Howell also added, “Bikes are essential for community policing initiatives. Targeted enforcement, surveillance, traffic enforcement, and public order are just a few ways in which we intend to deploy the bike patrol units.”
If you feel there is an area of the county in which bike patrol would be beneficial, contact Capt. Schultz at 850-892-8186 or [email protected].