New Carlisle is going “low-tech” when it’s latest community policing endeavor.

Lt. Brad Barnhart, Division Commander of the County Sheriff’s Office and the City of New Carlisle have initiated a bike patrol program due to start in June. Sgt. Ralph Underwood will oversee the first and second shift deputies who completed bike patrol training in May at Five Rivers Metro Parks. They will begin bike patrols in June.

Deputies Rachel Allender and Sheila Crews took the rigorous 40­-hour course, and according to Allender it was “really, really neat.” At first she thought, “What is there to riding a bike?” but as she and Crews rode 25 to 30 miles a day, learned how to bike both up and down stairs, and rode through downtown Dayton in heavy traffic, she found out there was quite a bit to riding a bike for the purpose of law enforcement. “Going up stairs was the hardest thing. If you can get over the first bump all you have to do is pedal.” The training also required passing four different maneuverability courses with various obstacles and a written test for the deputies to earn their certification.

While Barnhart has been the “driving force” in this program, the city of New Carlisle paid for the training, new gear and bike upgrades. The approximate cost of the program is $500 for the bike upgrades and $300 for helmets and uniforms. The details of the bike patrol routes and duties will be refined throughout the summer using the first and second shift deputies for both patrols and special events.

As deputies Allender and Crews gain public trust and provide a positive presence in the community, they anticipate earning a permanent place of bike patrol duty protecting the safety and well­being of the citizens of New Carlisle. Allender said, “It will allow me to interact with the members of the community and get to know the people I serve on a daily basis. It will also allow for the community to get to know their deputies a little better. I feel that being on bike patrol makes us, as deputies, more approachable, whether it’s by someone who has a law enforcement related question, children, or by people who just want to talk.”

Lt. Barnhart wants the patrol to deepen and grow in the future as its effectiveness is proven over time. He says, “New Carlisle is a good fit for bike patrol due to the close­knit community and the geography of the city. The downtown area is also ideal for bike patrol. In a small community it is important that the citizens get to know their deputies on a more personal level and build a strong working relationship.” Besides the positive presence in the community, bike patrols offer other advantages such as stealth and speed when approaching or pursuing suspects, and accessibility to places patrol cars cannot reach. “When trust is high between the police and the citizens they are more likely to come forward and report crime and disorder in their neighborhoods. They are also more likely to bring tips forward that help solve crimes.”

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