Sioux City Officers have started patrolling the streets on two wheels instead of four this summer. Over 20 officers were trained in bicycle patrol this summer after the department purchased bikes though a grant provided by The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Those familiar with the old CAST (Community Action Support Team) Unit will remember Officers on bicycles in the 1990s.
“We worked with City Neighborhood Services to secure the grant,” said Lt. Kevin Heineman who headed the project for the department. Funds for the bike program came from a Community Development Block Grant and paid for the bicycles and will also partially pay for officer’s wages while on bike patrol.
“Officers working under the grant will ride the bikes in HUD development areas with the primary purpose of having positive contacts with people,” explained Heineman. “Officers can take enforcement action if needed but their main focus is to build a relationship with the community.”
Chief Rex Mueller saw the chance to return to the department’s C.A.S.T. roots as a way to extend the operational capabilities and outreach efforts of the department. “Having the capability to selectively get officer out of the cars and into the communities was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up.” “Our mission of community engagement to build trust is well served by this kind of effort… From a safety standpoint, bikes are also able to patrol areas of the city that are not as accessible to cars such as the riverfront and walking trails” he said. “I’ve already seen the patrols having a positive impact over the last several weeks we have deployed them.”
As part of the grant, the department also host bike rodeos to help teach kids bike safety and improve their skills. Dates for bike rodeos are not set but will be announced via the department’s social media and webpage.