OSUPD Bike Training Fosters Community Interaction
November 2020 marks a special milestone for Officer Tom Schneider, celebrating his 20-year anniversary with The Ohio State University Police Division. With two decades of law enforcement under his belt, he was in search of a new challenge. After weighing his options, he decided to enroll in the OSUPD bike training program.
“This gave me an opportunity to do something exciting and new,” Officer Schneider said. “I wanted to test myself and see a different part of policing.”
OSUPD’s bike training program has been around for decades, with approximately 30 officers currently trained to ride bikes.
Lieutenant Bruce Allen, who went through the training program in 2016 shortly after becoming an officer, recently began managing the program and helps coordinate it.
Riding a bike has its advantages. Lieutenant Allen says being on a bike out in the community makes officers more visible and approachable.
“People are so much more likely to come up to you and ask a question if you’re on a bike compared to if you’re in a patrol car.”
In the past, officers attended bike school hosted by the Columbus Division of Police, but because of COVID-19, OSUPD hosted its own three-day in-house training.
“There was a lot of desire from the officers to get out on the bike.” Lieutenant Allen said.
Once an officer becomes bike-certified, they have their choice of driving a patrol vehicle on campus or riding a bike.
“That’s one of the great things about policing is that there are so many different opportunities,” Officer Schneider said.
Eight officers participated, led by two instructors. They trained for eight hours a day and learned basic riding formations, hand signals, slow speed drills, emergency braking and more.
“It’s a change from not having that 4,000 pound vehicle with you at all times,” Lieutenant Allen said. “How do you secure your bike when you have to leave it somewhere?”
It’s not all hard work though. He also says that it’s a lot of fun!
Officer Schneider says he looks forward to riding through campus and interacting in a new way with the campus community that he serves.