Jefferson sheriff bike patrols silent, thrifty

PORT HADLOCK — Some Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies are operating more silently and efficiently since the office began bike patrols in a few areas of the county.

“Everything changes when you are on a bike,” said Jefferson County Sheriff Tony Hernandez.

“You hear more, you see more and you make more contacts with people. Also, you move better and faster than on foot or getting out from your vehicle.”

The Sheriff’s Office began patrols in Port Hadlock, Irondale and Brinnon last month.

Clallam County Sheriff Bill Benedict said he will not start bike patrols in any of his coverage areas anytime soon.

“We don’t have any bike patrols,” Benedict said. “To be honest, I don’t know of any places where we could effectively use them.”

Jefferson County deputies say the bicycles give them an advantage because no one sees them coming.

“It really is a stealthy unit,” Deputy Brett Anglin said. “These things run very silent, quieter than a car for sure.

“Also, on a bike at night you don’t look like a cop. You just look like some guy on a bike.

“I don’t think we have encountered anyone on the bikes who saw us coming.”

The six bicycles and six new uniforms for use on the bicycles were purchased with money from the state’s drug forfeiture fund.

Hernandez said the addition of the bicycle units also means a cost savings in vehicle maintenance.

“The $7,000 spent on the bikes and equipment from the fund will cut down on gas cost and the cost of wear and tear on our cars,” Hernandez said.

“Beyond that, we can use these for patrolling parades and events in the county and target problem ares where there might be drug problems out on the streets.”

Deputies begin patrols during night shifts. After driving to an area with the bicycles mounted to the back of a patrol car, they hop on and peddle around the area, talking with people on the streets.

“I’ve probably contacted 20 people in about four hours during a bike patrol,” Anglin said.

“I’ve even made traffic stops on the bike, just riding behind a person as they drive to wherever they are going and contacting them when they get out of the car.

“It’s a really great tool to improve the amount of people we talk to in the areas we patrol.”

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Reporter Erik Hidle can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at erik.hidle@peninsuladailynews.com.

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