The Conshohocken Police Bicycle Unit was created in 1998 as a way for Officers to reconnect with the community. Modern policing in the 1990’s saw a focus on returning to community policing. As many departments throughout the country formulated new ways to reconnect with the community, the Conshohocken Police, along with others, decided to take advantage modern technology and older time tested police patrol methods of Police Officers on Bicycles.
Many police departments near the turn of the century used bicycles as a means of patrol. Officers on bicycles were noted to be more visible, and accessible to the public. It was not uncommon for an officer to complete his entire shift on the bicycle while making numerous friendly contacts with citizens along the way. The bicycle was also noted as being able to quietly reach destinations that patrol cars or foot officers were not able to.
In 1998 the Conshohocken Police Bicycle Unit formed with OfficersJohn Stortiand Shane Murray under the direction of then Sgt. Michael Orler, and Chief James Dougherty. The Officers attended the International Police Mountain Bike Association’s (IPMBA) forty hour training course at theUniversityOfPennsylvania. IPMBA was formed in the late 1980’s as a way to correctly train and certify public safety cyclist for the specialized functions of Police patrol on a bicycle. The IPMBA course teaches officers patrol procedures, arrest tactics, slow speed handling skills, and bicycle maintenance in addition to other necessary police bicycle related skills. All officers assigned to the bicycle unit are required to successfully complete this forty hour course.
The current department bicycle unit has four Officers and two Sergeant’s assigned to the unit. Officers are permitted to conduct routine day and night patrols while on Bicycle and are assigned to cover special community events such as Fun Fest, Fire works on July 4th, and the St. Patrick’s day parade. The department has three TREK and one CANNONDALE police specific bicycles for patrol. Each bicycle is equipped with headlights, taillights, emergency red & blue lights, and a siren, as well as an equipment bag containing bicycle repair tools and police specific equipment. The department has bicycle transportation racks so Officers can attach their bicycles onto their patrol vehicles and utilize them as needed.
Sgt. Lennon of the Bicycle Unit is an IPMBA certified Instructor and mechanic who is able to train officers of our department as well as surrounding departments in order to maintain a more efficient and cost saving program.
The Bicycle Unit in collaboration with the Patrol Unit initiated a Bicycle safety program in 2008. The department budgeted money for the purchase of children’s bicycle helmets. The program has risen in success since then and a few local businesses have gotten involved and made donations to purchase helmets for children. Any child in need of a bicycle helmet is encouraged to stop by the police station or ask an officer on patrol for a FREE bicycle helmet. The Bicycle unit also conducts safety lesson and safety checks from time to time. If your organization is interested in a safety talk from an officer please contact the Chief of Police, Michel Orler.