The Brunswick Police Department started a Mountain Bike Unit in 1993 with two officers assigned to bicycles as a means to supplement the downtown walking beat. The unit was so successful and well received by the citizens of Brunswick that it was expanded, and bike unit officers are now seen on downtown streets and in parks throughout the community. Deployment of these bike officers currently varies depending on availability of manpower. The bike patrol unit is seasonal and generally operates from mid May until late November, on both day and evening shifts.
The Brunswick Police Department uses police mountain bike patrols as a part of its community policing efforts. Having police officers on bicycles not only allows officers to get to some calls and locations quicker, but also makes for a very approachable police officer versus the traditional officer in a patrol car. Bike patrol officers can be seen on daily patrols, as well as assisting with special events such as when the Blue Angels come into town, the Memorial Day parade, Bowdoin College sporting events, and the Law Enforcement Torch Run. Members of the bike unit also give presentations to local school children on bike safety and the importance of wearing a helmet.
Assignment to the mountain bike unit requires an officer to have at least one year of law enforcement experience, be recommended by his or her immediate supervisor, and successfully pass the Maine Criminal Justice Academy forty-hour police cyclist certification course.
Proper equipment, especially the uniform, is a paramount consideration for a mountain bike officer serving in the northeast. Brunswick Police mountain bike officers wear lightweight CoolMax uniforms in the summertime, and have windproof water resistant, insulated jackets and pants, special gloves, face and head warmers for the very cool fall night shifts. All of our uniforms are supplied by Olympic Uniforms, based in Seattle, Washington. Bike officers carry the same gear on their belts that other officers have; the only difference is that the duty belt and holster are made of lightweight, nylon material that is more weather resistant than leather.
The Brunswick Police Department’s Mountain Bike Unit utilizes specialized mountain bikes for their bike patrols. Made with front shocks, disc brakes and very sturdy frames , these bicycles have served the bike unit well over the years. Each is equipped with high intensity lights for nighttime patrol and police markings for visibility.
The Brunswick Police Department has found great success with mountain bike patrols. Whether in uniform or in plain clothes, police officers on bikes bring an added dimension to police work by allowing better interaction with the citizens of Brunswick, while proving to be an effective law enforcement tool.