BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Chasing a criminal can lead law enforcement down city streets, but a criminal can go anywhere, obviously. For that reason, law enforcement have to be ready to take a chase to any surface possible, which makes a bicycle officer an effective asset.
"Because your bike can go where units can't go," said Sgt. Kyle Callihan, a bicycle officer with the Baton Rouge Police Department. "You have 28, 29 gears. [A suspect has] three speeds – really fast, really tired and not running at all, that's kind of the three speeds of a guy running."
Sgt. Callihan was speaking to nine law enforcement officers who are spending the week in training sessions.
"This is a 40-hour bicycle course hosted by Baton Rouge Police in conjunction with the International Police Mountain Bike Association," said Sgt. Don Coppola Jr, Public Information Officer with BRPD. "They have come to learn skills on a bicycle that will help them on the streets in Baton Rouge."
The class includes BRPD officers as well as officers from the Southern University Police Department and the Department of Public Safety.
"They work on slow speed riding, they work on curb ascents and descents, along with climbing up stairs and down stairs, criminal apprehension, so everything they need to do their job, just on a bicycle," explained Sgt. Coppola.
During the lessons, Sgt. Callihan used a recent example to drive the point home about the need to conserve energy when working a detail on a bike.
"Earth Day came, it was all over the place," he said. "If I would have dropped my bike and had to chase somebody and then get on my bike again and then chase, I would get tired because I wasn't riding my bike everywhere. If they ran, I'd chase them on my bicycle."
The Baton Rouge Police Department recently expanded its downtown bicycle unit. There are a total of 16 officers assigned to that department.