Residents might have noticed the Castle Rock Police Department’s Ford Expedition parked around Town with bike racks mounted on the back. During warmer months, this vehicle is used to haul around their stealthy bicycles – a mode of transportation that encourages positive police interaction with the community, while also allowing them keep our shops, parks and trails free from criminal activity.
“Right now, it is just during the summer that Castle Rock deploys their police on bikes around Town,” commented Commander Jason Lyons. “This is the 4th year we have had officers on bikes, but the plan is to have year round bike patrol in a couple of years.” That goal was set after seeing gains made by the department from the efforts of the unit.
Officers on bikes, because they are viewed as being less intimidating, can sometimes give them a better picture of what’s really going on around Town. “We have a presence at all of the larger Town events, as well as a along the Plum Creek Trail and Castle Rock Outlet Mall,” noted Bike Officer, Chad Stoneking.
They likewise can be spotted at the MAC Center, riding the paths and sparking curiosity among the children at the Adventure Playground. “We also spend a lot of time around the playground at the MAC interacting with the kids there,” Stoneking said. Their rule of thumb: anywhere there is a lot of foot traffic, being on a bike, helps them uphold the motto ‘to protect and to serve.’
But while the vast majority of the unit’s contacts are positive, they still have to keep a law enforcement focus. Last month, bike patrol handled 107 calls on their bikes and added a lot of miles to their bikes. “They (each) have logged 250 miles,” Commander Lyons said.
In addition to responding to calls specifically designated for them, along open space, parks or trails, the outlet mall or downtown area – they regularly alleviate the burden for patrol cars. “Depending on the location of the call, the type of call or if it’s in an area that only bikes can go – then we deploy them,” commented Commander Lyons.
Another crime they commonly responded to is theft for retailers. “A theft suspect that leaves on foot, it’s a lot easier for us to catch them and canvas an area on bikes,” noted Bike Officer, Dan Moffitt. “We have found that with the bike patrol we have found and apprehended several suspects that may not have otherwise been found, in a timely manner.”
Commander Lyons also has plans to further utilize them in areas where there is a pattern of criminal activity. “They will be doing some surveillance on the bikes – because they have the ability to be stealthy – so when we have an area where cars are being broken into, graffiti – having police on bikes can add to the investigative element and be deployed.”
And as with the previous summer, the department will continue to focus on the positive results the unit has welcomed. “Because of efforts of people like our bike officers and patrol officers, we have gained the trust and support of the public,” Commander Lyons said proudly. “With every contact, if they can change one persons view of law enforcement, because of the way they conduct their service, then it’s a win for us.”