Special 'bike squad' officers keep Phoenix bridle path safe

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

If you live in central Phoenix, you might be familiar with the "bridle path." It's a pathway that extends for about 4 miles from Central Avenue and Bethany Home Road to almost Dunlap Avenue.

Phoenix police have a special force called the 'Bike Squad,' assigned to patrol the bridle path, along with alleys and canals in the area.  

Three out of the seven officers assigned to this unit say they like the community engagement opportunity that comes along with being on this squad.

Officer Chris Fessler says, "I love it. The bike is awesome, it really is."

The officers carry the same equipment that they would have on a patrol car.

Officer Fessler says, "...and on this side, I keep my computer and then a charging cord."

On their bikes, they can do just about anything expect transfer people to jail. They also admit that being on the bike squad give them certain abilities that they don't have with a normal SUV or patrol car.

Officer Fessler says, "It's a great tool. You can get places where cars can't get to, and we can find people faster because they don't look for bike cops; they are looking for a patrol car with red and blue lights on top."

The other advantage according to the officers is getting to know people face to face. 

Officer Morgan says, "The other side of it is we have time to do community engagement. People will always wave and say hello and thank you."

Officer Fessler says, "Oh yeah, absolutely love it,  as you are riding people are looking out the window waving at you."

The officers say they observe walkers, bikers, and joggers all day on the path and they consistently see the same problem: inattentiveness from those who use the path.

Officer Morgan says, "The biggest thing I can say is being aware of your surroundings, staying off your cell phone keeping your ear buds at a lower volume so you hear what's going on around you." 

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