Saskatoon police bike unit celebrates 20 years
It's one of the sure-fire
signs of spring in Saskatoon and this year marks the 20th anniversary of the
Saskatoon Police Service's bike unit.
They patrol from about April to November, and log an average of 50 kilometers per day, according to Sgt. Patrick Barbar.
"They're excellent at making in-roads with the community. We're accessible, we're not in cars, we're rolling at lower speeds," he said.
However, that doesn't stop police from chasing cars atop the seat of a bike.
"For short distances we'll produce the same speed as a car in the downtown area," Barbar said.
He said the Seattle police department revived the first modern bike unit in North America in 1987 and Saskatoon followed suit five years later.
The police bike unit started with six constables and a sergeant who wore makeshift uniforms and rode sponsored bikes. Today it has 18 officers, lighter bikes and more comfortable uniforms.
Barbar said one of his most memorable experiences on the bike unit was with street level crime.
"One of my first days on the bike was interrupting a drug transaction in progress, where I actually saw drugs changing hands for money, which is something you would never see in a patrol car."
He added the unit is popular among officers, and that many call it the highlight of their career.