In August, ten officers in the Forest Preserves of Cook County Police Department completed a 32-hour patrol bicycle operators course. The course, certified by the International Police Mountain Bike Association (IPMBA), covered subjects like patrol cycling tactics, cycling at night, bicycle maintenance and repairs, overcoming hazards and crashes, and emergency braking techniques.
With nearly 70,000 acres of public lands, the Forest Preserves often conducts their patrol operations through alternative methods such as bicycles, ATVS, and utility vehicles. In the first six months of this year, police conducted more than 2,600 alternative patrols across the Forest Preserves.
“Bicycle patrols enable officers to access areas unreachable by vehicles, making officers more accessible to Forest Preserves patrons, and providing a ‘green’ way to conduct patrol operations,” explained Forest Preserves Police Commander Tony Rapacz.
During the training, officers also completed numerous scenario-based training events and learned how to overcome the variety of physical obstacles officers could face while patrolling Forest Preserves property.
Approximately one third of the Forest Preserves police force is certified as bicycle patrol operators, enhancing the department’s ability to provide safety for Preserves visitors and to better protect the native flora and fauna in the diverse habitats of the preserves.