Birmingham, AL (STL.News) The Birmingham Police Department has re-instated the bike patrol in the Downtown area. Officer Matthew Dickerson and Officer Keona Suttles currently serve the community in this way.

“We have a more intimate experience with people when we’re on the bikes,” Officer Dickerson said.  “When we’re on the bikes it makes it a lot easier for [the public] to approach us or wave us down.  Sometimes when you’re en route to a call in a vehicle, you may not see or hear somebody waving.  We also have an opportunity to talk to small business owners downtown and get some of their complaints and try to help them out as best we can.”

People visiting and working Downtown told BPD’s Social Media Officer that they enjoy the unique officer presence.

“Seeing the bike riders back out and the police officers back on the bikes is a welcome change, you know, it’s keeping the community safe and it’s good to see faces and meet the officers as they’re out and about,” Peter DiCaprio, who works at Spartan Invest, said.

The bike unit also provides more opportunities for officers to help the public with non-criminal matters.  For example, they recently helped one person with a parking meter and helped another locate a restroom for her grandchildren.

The officers attended a three-day class to attain a special certification in order to serve on the bike unit and they also must wear helmets, bright and reflective clothing and obey all traffic laws while biking.

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