HURLBURT FIELD Fla. (AFNS) --
It's not completely uncommon to drive around the corner, approaching Hurlburt Field's base housing here in the evening and see the blue and red splash of law enforcement lights against buildings -- yet with no patrol car in sight.
Instead, the light emanates from two bicycles adorned with the flashing lights. That's the 1st Special Operations Security Forces Squadron bike patrol making a traffic stop in base housing.
Members of the 1st Special Operations Security Forces Squadron's bike patrol make their
rounds almost daily through base housing and other designated areas, making
their presence known with the goal of community policing and mobility in
"The greatest benefit is the public presence," said 2nd Lt. Taylor
Heckman, the operations officer for 1st SOSFS. "Community policing is one thing
we're really trying to promote in base housing. (On bikes) you can be quiet,
you're not loud or intrusive, and you can see things you normally wouldn't from a
Although other motorized vehicles serve a purpose in the security force squadron's fleet, bikes offer patrolmen unique capabilities.
development courses state bike patrol is the most effective patrol security
forces have because you can take it places you can't go with a car, you can go up
and down stairs on a bike, you can go just about anywhere a person can go," said
Staff Sgt. Stuart Jones, a unit trainer with 1st SOSFS.
benefit to operating on bicycles is the low cost of maintenance. During a time when
fiscal responsibility is more important than ever, putting more cost-efficient
patrols on the road gives Airmen the ability to save money
and still remain effective.
"Repairing a blown tire on a bicycle is much
cheaper than repairing a blown tire on a patrol car," Heckman said. "Security
forces members on patrol on bicycles also alleviate the mechanical burden on the
patrol cars running constantly."
With patrol cars used in round-the-clock operation, one of the biggest problems with patrol cars is a high cost of upkeep
and maintenance, said Staff Sgt. Alex Patten, a small unmanned aircraft
systems program manager for 1st SOSFS. Cars aren't designed to sit and idle for
extended periods of time. With bikes, the lack of an internal combustion
engine to break down over time is the greatest benefit.
there's a great deal of versatile and creative uses for the bike patrol. The
patrol is used for air shows, ensuring safety during trick-or-treating, nearly
every large 5K race and any other special engagement that may involve large
crowds of people, where accessing the venue with a patrol car would be
There are also physical fitness benefits of riding a
bike. Some of the 1st SOSFS members on the bike patrol log more than 40 miles per
day, Heckman said.
The primary purpose of having regular bike
patrols is the community policing objective of security force's job.
primary responsibility is being a visible force in the community," said Airman
1st Class Gary Jackson, a bike patrolman with 1st SOSFS. "I like getting out and
actually interacting with the people in the community, because when you're in a
patrol car you don't really interact unless you're pulling someone over or
responding to a call. You're just a cop, but on the bike people feel much more
comfortable approaching you."