Franklin Twp. spins its wheels

Officers in Franklin Township are hitting the streets – on bicycles.

Police Officer Terry Taylor said bike patrol is being used in a small section as a test and may expand to the entire township, depending on community response.

"This will help with gas prices and fuel costs," said Taylor.

The patrol will cover the areas of Westfield, Eastfield, Brown Road and side streets such as Little Road, Rosemont and Hopkins.

Police Chief Mike Castle said there were a lot of factors that went into determining where a bike patrol should run.

"We look at our geographic area; we look at crime statistics and see where we’re having a lot of problems. Again, you don’t just put a bike in an area where it’s going to take a while to get to the cruiser," said Castle.

The chief said the key reason why the patrol will go to those areas has to do with traffic and safety concerns.

"In Eastfield and Westfield, we have a lot of residents in a small area. We wouldn’t take them out to Clime Road with the heavy traffic," said Castle.

Castle said that even if the bike patrol is made into a permanent fixture, that decision will not be made until sometime this winter and then even after that, the earliest for the permanent bike patrol implementation will not happen until spring or summer of 2009.

"There’s a lot of things that need to be put into play, training needed, getting the bikes. We only have one officer that is trained," said Castle. "

Police officers are required to attend a 40-hour bike school class. There is a class offered by the Ohio Police Officers Training Council, but any police department that offers a bike patrol, such as Reynoldsburg, is qualified to train.

"Everyone that gets the class has to have certified instruction by the State of Ohio," said Castle.

He said the bike patrol earlier this month was a one-night occurrence for National Night Out and the costs for having such a patrol is still getting established.  

"This just came up in the last month, if there is going to be a cost factor or if there isn’t.

There’s been made mention of several different things to finance the issue, but we haven’t really looked into that yet. That was just to get a feel for how the people feel about it," said Castle.

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