SAVANNAH, GA (November 16, 2022) – Twenty-five SPD officers will now make up the new, part-time Bike Unit.
Prior to the formation of the SPD Bike Unit, a few officers had bicycles, which they could incorporate into their daily patrol functions. Now, however, the new unit will work collectively in areas throughout the city and can be deployed to specific areas as needed.
“We’re excited about this new unit and all the benefits that will come as a result,” Chief Lenny Gunther said. “It will not only be a benefit to the officers but also to the community while we continue our mission to address crime and to build relationships and trust with our citizens in all neighborhoods. This unit will not only assist in addressing crime, but also in enhancing community relations and officer health.”
The bikes will be used in addition to the officer’s patrol vehicle.
Patrolling by bicycle is ideal for heavily traveled areas or events. With a bicycle, the officer can quickly navigate around vehicles or crowds of people to respond to calls quickly. It’s also quieter and less noticeable than a patrol car, which could be a benefit when observing activity in areas that have been experiencing issues with crimes, such as burglaries or entering autos.
“The holiday are coming up, and we’re already looking at ways to utilize the Bike Unit to assist with holiday-related crimes, like package thefts, and to deploy them to shopping areas throughout the city to keep shoppers safe,” Assistant Chief DeVonn Adams said. “Moving forward, we know that this unit will also be especially helpful during festivals, parades and other events that can make navigation by vehicle a challenge.”
Approachability was another key factor when creating the unit.
“We believe that this will certainly make officers more approachable,” Gunther said. “It will be easier for officers to engage with our residents, both adults and children, and build those impactful relationships than it is if they are driving a police cruiser through that same area.”
It will also be a benefit to officer health, which has been a focus area for the department in recent months. It gives them the opportunity to get from behind the steering wheel during the shift and both get exercise and sunlight.