by Roland Balik
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
4/4/2015 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- Being
visible day or night and establishing one-on-one relationships within
the Team Dover community is the goal of the 436th Security Forces
Squadron here, who are trained and certified members of the newly-formed
police bike patrol pedaling around both the installation and base
The use of bicycle or "bike" patrols by police officers dates back to
the mid-1800s in order to cut down crime, allowing police officers to
cover more area then they can on foot, and most importantly, making a
presence in the community by being more approachable.
"Bicycle patrolling is important on a couple fronts," said Lt. Col. Joel
Briske, 436th Security Forces Squadron commander. "The most important
is that it removes the patrol car and all of its equipment from the
officer which makes interaction between the officer and the community
they serve more likely."
The use of specially equipped mountain bikes will enable bike patrol members to go places that a patrol car cannot go.
"Police officers will be able to patrol through easements, around the
perimeter of housing and be more likely to come into contact with our
residents who are out enjoying the green areas of our community," said
Briske. "Having that freedom of movement will also provide a better
police posture to discourage unwanted behaviors."
Beyond the initial start-up costs, the use of bike patrols has tangible
financial and health rewards that accompany using pedal power.
"This initiative has many positive aspects as it will save fossil fuels
as our Defenders are using their bicycles to get around instead of
driving their assigned police vehicles, this will also reduce our
overall carbon footprint which is in-line with Air Force initiatives to
use alternative fuels," said Briske. "It also gives the patrolmen a good
aerobic workout while on duty helping them to maintain their fitness
Seven hand-picked members of the 436th SFS received specialized police
mountain bike training March 16-19, 2015, by two International Police
Mountain Bike Association certified instructors from the Ocean City
(Maryland) Police Department bike patrol unit.
"I was excited to be selected by my squadron for bike patrol," said
Senior Airman Angela Gaul, 436th SFS response force leader. "I enjoy new
challenges and trying new things, and this is a great opportunity to
reach the community in a new way."
Bike patrol members will wear a highly-visible yellow shirt with
"police" stenciled on the back, blue shorts, ride a mountain bike
equipped with police lights and saddle bags with "police" stenciled on
"Talk about a morale booster. How would you like to be told that you
will now have to wear shorts and a polo shirt to work instead of your
ABUs?" said Briske.
Corporals Allen Hawk and Richard Wawrzeniak, of the OCPD, instructed SFS
bike patrol members on how to ride safely day or night, bike
maintenance, bike pursuit, slow-speed and confined space maneuvering
skills among crowds and administered a 50-question written test on the
"There are only two main [bike] tricks to accomplish 90 percent of what
we do in the course," said Wawrzeniak. "If they can get those two main
tricks down right from the very beginning, everything else becomes
The two tricks are slow-speed riding by continuous pedaling while using
the rear brake to maintain balance and the technique of lofting the
front wheel or "popping a wheelie" to ascend or descend to and from
different surface levels.
Training opportunities between civilian and military law enforcement
agencies add strength to existing relationships and sharing knowledge
between the two will benefit the Dover AFB community as a whole.
"I am grateful for the Delmarva Chief of Police community that
emphasizes working together for a common goal," said Briske. "I am also
proud of the men and women of the 436th Security Forces Squadron as they
are always seeking new opportunities to improve our processes and be
relevant to the wing and our community."
Bike patrols on the industrial side of the base and the family housing areas will begin soon, weather permitting.