Danville police bike patrol program could begin next year

Police department is eligible for federal grant to start program

DANVILLE, Va. – Come late spring or early summer next year, you could see Danville police officers patrolling the streets on bikes.

Maj. Tim Jones said the department hasn't had a bike patrol program since the late '90s or early 2000s.

"Our new officers, and a lot of the older officers, they're excited," Jones said.

City Council members have to adjust the fiscal year 2019 budget to account for the federal grant, worth more than $33,000, before it can be received.

"We're going to purchase bicycles, uniforms for the officers who ride the bicycles, and the equipment associated with that and training," Jones said.

How many bikes will be purchased and how many officers will receive training has not been decided.

How frequently the officers will ride the bikes will be up to each shift.

"It could be an officer on patrol one day who might, instead of being on patrol that day, get the bicycle. It could be an investigator or a school resource officer," Jones said.

For some perspective, 10 News talked to the Martinsville Police Department, which has been doing bike patrols for about three years.

Sgt. Mike Harris said the bikes have greatly increased interaction with the public.

"On a bike, they'll see you out. They'll holler at you. You stop and it's easier to carry on a conversation. A lot of people are interested in the bike, want to ask questions about it. A lot of people will give us information that a lot of other people wouldn't if we were in a police car," Harris explained.

A good sign for the Danville Police Department.

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