The services of the Ponce Inlet Police Department were augmented in 2002 with the implementation of the Police Bicycle Unit. The unit is staffed with 5 cross-trained officers from other units within the department. The Bicycle Unit utilizes specialized Trek Police Mountain Bikes. Each bike is equipped with high intensity lights in the front and rear for night time patrol and easy visibility as well as police markings.
Objective of the Patrol
The objective of the bicycle unit is to add another facet to the police department's approach to law enforcement and service to the residents of Ponce Inlet. The Ponce Inlet Police Department utilizes the bike patrol as part of its community-oriented style of policing. Putting officers on a bike increases the visibility and approachability of the officers and the community they serve. It allows business owners and residents to speak to that officer on a face to face basis and address issues and concerns that they might not be able to ask an officer driving by in a patrol vehicle.
A bicycle can also be less obtrusive and more low-key than a patrol car. It allows the officer to approach a situation without being observed and without as great an interruption in "normal" activity than driving a car into the area. The Bike Unit has proven very valuable at special events such as the Christmas parade, Vets at the Light, Art Festivals and 5K Runs where larger crowds could hamper access by a vehicle.
Areas Under Patrol
The Bike Unit has been very beneficial in patrolling the unique terrain of Ponce Inlet. These areas include large wooded natural areas like Lighthouse Point Park and Ponce Preserve, sidewalks, boardwalks leading to the beach, the jetty and neighborhoods. Bicycle patrol has been useful for crime prevention efforts in the area of the boat parking ramp, many off beach parking lots, restaurant and business parking lots, and recreational parks throughout our town.