The U of S bike patrol unit was started in 1988. Two plain clothes members were assigned to ride bikes that had been recovered by Campus Safety and were unclaimed. Their primary function was to provide surveillance and apprehension of bike thieves. While the unit was successful in apprehending a number of bike thieves, it was not cost effective and was not successful in reducing the number of thefts.
In 1990 the decision was made to uniform the bike unit and to designate a number of uniformed officers on bikes each shift. The Department has six Trek Police Special mountain bikes which operate from early spring (March to April) to late fall (October to November) dependent upon the weather. Each operational team has a minimum of two officers dedicated to the bike patrol unit, with officers outfitted in specialized biking equipment. Officers use windproof/waterproof jackets and pants, and are trained in police mountain bike techniques. Special Constables on bike patrol are able to ride in all types of weather and often bike over 50 km each shift.
The use of a bike patrol allows Special Constables to operate in all areas of campus, especially in areas that have little or no vehicle access. With the use of the bike patrol, officers are able to have more public contact and are better able to serve the needs of the community. We have found that the bike unit is a valuable resource in response to calls for service, since traffic tie-ups and maneuvering in congested areas do not adversly affect the bike unit response time. Also, in many cases, the bike unit members are able to ride up to individuals before they are aware that the Special Constable is in the area.