The Escondido Police Department's Bicycle Patrol Team was established in 1992. Currently, there are six officers assigned to the full-time bike team. Officers assigned to the bike team are asked to make a minimum commitment of three years.
The bike team has 24-hour, 365-day capability. The officers ride in most weather conditions except hard rain. The bikes are equipped with bright lights and can be ridden at night without visual difficulty. Officers generally ride with an assigned partner in groups of two. This allows bike officers to patrol in high crime areas without burdening patrol officers with routine cover calls.
The bike team's main focus is self-initiated activity. Although the officers normally patrol near Grape Day Park, the California Center for the Arts, the public library, and other general downtown sites, the bike team is not limited to these areas. The officers work loosely with Crime Suppression Division coordinators in order to target certain crime problems and recent public concerns. In short, the bike team's patrol can cover the expanse of the city limits.
Besides the self-initiated activity that keeps the bike team quite busy, the bike officers will also respond to radio calls, if they are near enough for the officers to pedal the distance.
Generally, the bike officers will not be dispatched to take lengthy reports due to lack of carried equipment, such as extra report forms and print kits. They are expected to take other reports that will pertain to their activity, such as arrests reports.
The bike team naturally attracts many positive citizen contacts from both the business community and the community at large. Officers are encouraged to take the time to promote a positive relationship with these groups. Furthermore, the unit is an excellent enforcement tool. The officers have a very good knowledge of persons currently wanted and current crime patterns.
The bike team currently utilizes high quality mountain bikes equipped with front suspension. Officers ride on a full-time basis requiring top level dependable bikes for safety and minimum equipment failure. The bikes are assigned to each team member, and officers are responsible to make sure that their bikes are maintained in peak performance condition.
Each officer selected to the bike team is sent to a specialized bike school. This bike school educates the officers on different applications and situations in which the bikes may be used. The school will also put the officers, while on their bikes, through various obstacles and environmental conditions, so the officers will have the experience and expertise to perform in any situation when they are on patrol.