Ohio State’s Acting Chief Craig Stone has recently implemented police bicycle patrolling in order to travel on campus more efficiently and have more interaction with students.
According to Stone, University Police was once a leader in bicycle patrolling but declined over the years as other aspects of policing became a higher priority. This method of transportation not only allows officers to access areas that cars cannot but also improves relationships with students.
“It’s about visibility, being friendly, interacting with the students and building positive relationships, and deterring crime at the same time,” Stone said.
Currently, the OSU police department has 11 officers trained to patrol on bikes. By autumn 2016, Stone plans to have at least 22 officers certified.
Stone said he is a firm believer in having positive engagements between the police and the students.
University Police uses the bike school through the Columbus Division of Police to train officers on bicycles. The most recently trained is University Joint Patrol Officer Scott Holbert.
“I can go places a patrol car can’t go,” Holbert said. “Other benefits include the potential for greater public interactions, great crowd management, good exercise for officers, a cost savings compared to patrol cars, and I can potentially see, hear and detect more activity.”
Stone said he encourages officers who are not yet trained to patrol on bikes to get out on campus on foot at least once during their shift to engage with students.
The chief also said he wants to get back into being a leader in bicycle patrolling by having an officer certified to train other officers.
“I’d like to eventually get one of our officers trained to be a certified instructor, that way we can offer our people refresher training at less expense,” he said.
Mark Jacob, a third-year in health sciences, said he has seen police patrolling campus on bicycles recently and thinks it has a positive impact on OSU’s campus.
“I think it’s the best way to get around on a campus with so many people, and it’s reassuring to know that they care about our safety enough to ride through places they can’t get to in their cars,” Jacob said.