More URI campus cops using bikes

University of Rhode Island Officer Paul Hanrahan rides a three-wheeled electric vehicle and Officer Raul Douglas, a mountain bike, as part of an expanded campus police bike patrol program. (Photo provided by Nora Lewis, URI)

KINGSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Seven campus police officers at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston are adding bike helmets to their uniforms.

They join four previously certified officers who were trained by the International Police Mountain Bike Association in patrolling on bikes. It’s part of a mission by campus police chief Maj. Michael Jagoda to use more community policing methods around campus.

URI has had bike patrols in the past, the university said in a news release Monday, but Jagoda wants them used more. “When you are sitting in a cruiser you are not as engaged,” Maj. Jagoda said. “We want students and other community members to feel comfortable approaching us.”

Using bicycles are a quick and effective way to monitor large crowds, Jagoda said. He supervised bike patrols at the University of Connecticut in a previous position with the Connecticut State Police.

Also on the bike force is a three-wheeled electric vehicle, not unlike Segway vehicles that some police forces have used. Officer Paul Hanrahan, who supervises the police bike program, said, “You have a much greater field of vision on a bicycle and the three-wheeled unit, and so we easily see potential challenges.” The three-wheeled vehicle has provided flexibility for officers getting around high-traffic events like Commencement and football games.

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