When Greenwood Police Chief T.J. Chaudoin took the reins of the Greenwood Police Department, he said he wanted to bring back a bike patrol team.
Chaudoin thought a bike patrol team was a useful tool, but how to fund it was the question.
That’s where Firehouse Subs Foundation came to the rescue.
“On our bikes, there is a small sticker that has Firehouse Subs on it. All of our bikes, along with helmets and stuff, was actually purchased by Firehouse Subs, so it didn’t cost the police department or our citizens anything,” Chaudoin said. “...without them we would still be looking for ways to fund the bicycles.”
The department has four bikes that together cost about $9,000 to $10,000, which includes lights, helmets and decals.
With the hustle and bustle of festivals and upcoming holidays, Chaudoin said the bike patrol is another way for officers to interact with the community while also serving and protecting.
“It’s easier to approach someone on a bicycle than it is when they’re in a vehicle. It’s just an awesome time for us to be able to patrol more areas, especially going through alleys and businesses or somebody on foot patrol,” he said. “It’s just way more interactive with the public than a patrol vehicle. That’s why we still get out and walk some of the neighborhoods. With bikes, we can cover more than one area.”
But being part of the bike patrol team isn’t as simple as just hopping on a bike. Each officer on the team — Courtney Clemmons, William Kay, Maj. Mitchell McAllister, Detective Matt Blackwell and Dustin William — had to go through specialized training before putting wheels to the ground.
“The training deals with everything from how to apprehend a suspect on the bike, how to get on and off the bike as far as in emergency situations, and of course they have to do the obstacle courses and show balance and stuff like that — show they’re able to control the bike,” Chaudoin said. “There is a training aspect that have to go through before being allowed on the bike. It’s a week-long training and they have to pass the obstacle course that Maj. McAllister sets up.”
Moving forward, Chaudoin said he would like to expand the team, which he said would allow the police department to cover more ground in the community.