The RCMP’s local bike patrols have received a much-needed boost with the donation of two new mountain bikes and several thousand dollars worth of equipment courtesy of the Rotary Club of Invermere, the Lake Windermere Lions Club and Bicycle Works cycling store.
Along with the pair of $2,000 bikes, the RCMP received helmets, gloves, shoes, socks, bike lights and other gear totalling $3,000, which was handed over to them on Thursday, June 30th.
“It’s good to see our local police force out on nice bikes,” said Byron Grey, the owner of Bicycle Works. “Happy cops are nice cops! Tim [Harper] was talking to the Rotary about bikes so I decided to help them get up-to-date gear as well.”
Currently three local officers are trained to conduct mountain bike patrols: Constables Tim Harper and Scott Myers, and Corporal Grant Simpson.
The patrols have been intermittently taking place in and around Invermere for more than five years, but only when trained staff have been available. Their training includes riding the bikes up, down and around obstacles, practising traffic stops by bicycle and using a bike defensively to protect against attackers.
With the new gear and three trained officers the Columbia Valley detachment will once again be able to focus on patrolling by bike at special events and throughout the community.
“We want to be easier to approach and more visible around the community,” Constable Harper explained. “Kids can come up and talk to us; we can ride through the parks, particularly the skate park. Plus, it’s environmentally friendly.”
Using bikes also allows officers to approach people quickly and quietly without being detected and gain access to areas unreachable by car.
After putting in a showing at this year’s Canada Day parade, the police bike patrols will be focusing on the recreational areas and alleyways across the downtown core, especially as the summer sun brings people out onto the streets.
“Thank you to Bicycle Works, the Rotary Club and the Lions; they’ve been amazing,” Constable Harper added.
Other recent additions to the detachment’s vehicles are pair of snowmobiles, two new ATVs and a refitted police boat, allowing the RCMP to extend their reach on land and on water.