SLCPD Holds “Bike School” to Recruit Officers to Bike Squad

(KCPW News) The state’s largest bicycle force is training police officers who want to join their squad. A dozen officers with the Salt Lake City Police Department interested in riding with the bike unit will spend the next several days learning the ins and outs of patrolling the city on two wheels. Bike instructor Tracy Ita  says the unit is one of the most coveted in the department, but there’s a three year limit for those who serve on the squad.

“Basically what will happen is we’ll try and certify all of them,”  Ita said. “We do have a test at the end, a bike test, a timed event for this cone pattern.  All those that are certified and finished through the school will be put on a list, and then basically there will be an interview process and a process to actually get picked up. If all of them become certified there’s a chance all of them will make it on.”

Liz Jaquez , who has been with the department for three years, says she wants to join the bike squad to feel more involved with the community.

“Looking for lost children in your car is virtually impossible,” Jaquez said.  But on a bike, you can ride up and look into the bushes and stuff like that and see if they are hiding.  You just go places.  It’s a lot easier to look and search for things when you are on a bike.  When you are in a car, you’re very confined. It’s easier to patrol the parks.”

Salt Lake City’s bike squads cover four different areas. Instead of responding to calls from a police radio, they deal with public safety issues that come up on their daily rounds.