NORMAN, Okla. – Drivers in Norman may notice a few officers sporting a unique form of transportation.
The Norman Police Department is now changing out a few patrol cars for bicycles.
This growing trend has resulted in more mobility, access to diverse areas and it allows officers to be more discreet when responding to crime scenes.
Not to mention, members of the bike team can perform the same duties as in their patrol cars.
Officer Thomas Zermeno, with the Norman Police Department, said, “It’s the funniest thing to see when you see a bike pulling over a car.”
While it may seem funny, it happens more often than not.
Zermeno said, “I can do anything on my bike. I can take a report, I can make traffic stops.”
In fact, he says he prefers to patrol on his bike because of the flexibility.
Zermeno said, “During the night time, we can sneak up on people that aren’t expecting us to be there. They’re looking for police cars, not bikes.”
The bicycle team covers a lot of the city.
During the holidays, the team will focus on shopping centers.
Officer Charles Shell, with the Norman Police Department, said, “Our presence helps deter a lot of that crime.”
Shell is fairly new to the bike team and said many senses come to life when cruising on his bike.
He said, “We can hear things better, see things easier and we can even smell things that you normally wouldn’t in a police car.”
Both officers try to work on their bikes as much as they can to make sure people are following the law.
They also get to know the community better.
Shell said, “It’s fun, it’s rewarding. We get to get out and interact with the public on the sidewalks.”.
There are 15 members of the Norman bicycle team, including two lieutenants and a commanding captain.
Interested officers have to apply to be on the bike team and pass a fitness and shooting test.