Wednesday, February 15, 2012

North Tryon Division gets new bikes

Are two wheels better than four?

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department's North Tryon Divison launched its new bike patrol during a press conference outside the Compare Foods at N. Tryon Street and Sugar Creek Road.

Officers B. Etter, J. Wally and J. Lancaster make up the patrol, which will ride through business parking lots and some apartment complexes along North Tryon Street.

Lt. Jeff Harless, the Response Area Commander for that part of the city, says officers will attempt to decrease larcenies from autos and robberies from businesses along the corridor. The bikes will make them more approachable, Harless says, and give them a bigger element of surprise when trying to combat crimes.

"The bad guys aren't looking out for bikes, they're looking for patrol cars," Harless said.

During the press conference, members of the new squad took some questions about whether they'll be taken as seriously on a bike. But bike officers were credited with one of the department's bigger success stories last year.

Officers arrested 15 people in connection with a drug ring along North Tryon Street (in the Metro Division, just south of the North Tryon Division) where drug dealers recruited homeless people from nearby shelters to work as drug runners and deal-brokers.

Officer Jared Porter, an officer who patrolled the area on bicycle, was one of the first to notice the trend. -- Cleve R. Wootson Jr.

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