Information and pictures of the Bicycle Patrol Unit
Terre Haute Police Department
In 2008 the Terre Haute Police Dept. had numerous requests from local businesses and private citizens, to bring back the Bicycle Patrol Unit. The Bike Unit was started several years ago and initially was only two officers. It expanded in 2002 to a total of 6 officers, but was cut from the department completely in 2004. Due to these requests for it to be resurrected, Chief Plasse started the unit back up in 2008, initially with a three man unit. The bike unit is a seasonal job that is filled during the summer months and generally is in operation from June 1st through August 31st. The unit is also used several other times during the year for special events and will work in tandem with Indiana State University Police bike officers during the weeks leading up to and after ISU homecoming. The unit was expanded back to 6 officers in 2009 and has remained at that number for 2010.
These officers patrol the entire city of Terre Haute, this includes all city parks and the Heritage Trail. All six officers work the same shift which allows for multiple locations in the city to have this type of coverage at the same time. The officers are constantly riding in and out of neighborhoods and business districts looking for vandals, thieves, drug activity and any other criminal activity they might come across. They are equipped with emergency lights and sirens and will routinely stop vehicles that are committing traffic violations. The officers also respond to all types of calls for service, much like the officers patrolling in cars. These can be any type of call, ranging from a simple property pick-up to a fight or shooting. The officers work an 8 hour shift and the only time they are not on the bikes is when it is raining or they are handling a call for service. Due to this they average 4 - 6 hours a night riding the bikes and go anywhere from 25-35 miles a night. In addition to this type of patrolling the officers will also load the bike's onto a car and take them into neighborhoods, sub-divisions and apartment complexes that might be experiencing an increase in criminal activity, or just simply to increase the police presence in that area. The officers can utilize the bikes to quietly check for prowlers, thieves and burglars in a way that the marked police car cannot.
In 2009, thanks to private donations and Department of Justice grant money, the Bike Unit was able to upgrade its bicycles and support equipment. Many of the older Cannondale bikes were in very bad shape and some were over 10 years old with parts missing or damaged beyond repair. After determining that it was cheaper to purchase new bikes rather than refurbish the old bikes, the department purchased 6 new Trek police bikes from J's Bikes, which is a local Terre Haute bicycle shop located behind Honey Creek Mall. Thanks to these donations and the excellent service we receive from J's Bikes for our continued bike maintenance, the Terre Haute Police Bicycle Unit will be patrolling and making our streets safer for many years to come.