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Bike patrol officers hailed for ‘immeasureable impact’ on the community

Posted by on December 10th, 2007 at 11:57 am

Bike Patrol gets policing award-1-2.jpg

From R to L: Officers Phil Blanchard, Robert Pickett,
Robert Quick, Police Chief Sizer.
(Photos © Jonathan Maus)

At a ceremony this morning in downtown Portland, four members of the Southeast Precinct Bike Patrol Unit were among those recognized at the Chief’s Forum Awards — which intend to “reflect on the value of community policing partnerships”.

Officers Phil Blanchard, Robert Quick, and Robert Pickett* were awarded the Community Policing Problem Solving Award by the Chief’s Forum (an advisory council to Police Chief Sizer) for their outstanding work that has made a “big difference in the Southeast Portland community.”

Speaking to a packed crowd in the City of Portland building, a representative from the Chief’s Forum said,

“The bicycle patrol has left an immeasurable impact upon the residents and business owners of Southeast Portland and has greatly assisted in developing a lasting relationship between the community and the Portland Police Bureau.”

Bike Patrol gets policing award-2-2.jpg

However, despite the accolades, bike-mounted police officers are still a rarity in the Portland Police Bureau. Outside of downtown, only two bike patrol officers remain.

After the ceremony, Officer Robert Quick told me that hiring challenges are mostly to blame. I asked him about getting more bike patrol officers and he said, “We’re just hoping to hold onto the two we’ve got right now.”

I also spoke with Police Chief Sizer. We agreed that unfortunately the great stories of community policing honored at this event would likely never get coverage on the local news.

What the Bureau needs to solve their personnel crisis is not just more money and beefed up recruitment efforts: What they need is more good news. Scandals and inappropriate conduct have tarnished their image and it will take time, and more positive news stories to clean it up.

More bike patrol units could go a long way in creating those stories. Officers Quick, Pickett, Blanchard, and Zanetti have a laid an exemplary foundation, all that’s missing are more officers and more resources from the Bureau to build up the program.


[*Bike Patrol officer Anthony Zanetti was also recognized but was not present at the ceremony.]

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Bill Stites
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Bill Stites

I know that the Sunnyside Neighborhood Assoc. and the Belmont Area Business Assoc. have greatly appreciated the presence of the bike patrol.
While it still exists, there are just two bike officers in SE who are responsible to cover a huge geographic area. We are lucky to have this much, though.

Seems like a no-brainer that this program is a wonderful hybrid between the old cop-on-the-beat, and the isolating cruisers [patrol cars].
More bike patrols, please.

I don\’t know the other officers very well, but I would like to extend a big congrats to Robert Pickett – outstanding officer.

Lenny Anderson
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Patrolling by bike is almost a no brainer…you can cover more territory than a foot patrol, can see more on and off the street than a cop in a patrol car, and you will have more contact with the people you serve. Downside…not much good in a high speed chase.
Let\’s get more of these officers in every part of town. And let\’s urge the downtown patrol to take to the street, take a lane, to set a good example for downtown cyclists.

PoPo
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PoPo

Thank you for your very kind support. I know that the officers on the bike patrol team are doing their best out there–and November isn\’t quite as nice as July for riding bike patrol!

Just to help explain why many officers ride on the sidewalk, here\’s a link that talks about it:
http://bikeportland.org/2007/01/23/guest-post-why-cops-ride-on-sidewalks/

Aaron
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Aaron

Officer Picket we are deeply appreciative of the positive influence that you have made in Portland. It\’s wonderful to see you recognized for that. Keep up the great work. 🙂

Todd Boulanger
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Todd Boulanger

Yes our bike patrol units were very effective and well loved in Downtown Vancouver too…until the VPD/City Council cut then back and off years ago.

The merchants loved them…back when there were few \’good\’ bicyclist role models riding around – 2000/2001.

RubberDuck
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RubberDuck

I passed by the officers this morning. I was happy to see them and hopefully will see others soon.

Excellent work officers and Thank You.