This story originally appeared on MayisBikeMonth.com. Don’t forget to get on those bikes for the month of May!
We talk a lot about bicycling TO work for May is Bike Month, but some people have the luxury of riding a bicycle DURING work. We wanted to hear what that was like so we started with one of the more visible bicycle related jobs; an officer on a bike. Learn what Officer Mark Callaghan had to say about what it’s like to ride during work.
May is Bike Month (MIBM): What do you like about riding a bicycle during work?
Officer Callaghan: There are several aspects I enjoy about riding a bicycle during work. Foremost I enjoy the community involvement. I am continually approached by community members and am able to talk with them about law enforcement issues or just about the neighborhood.
MIBM: How is it different from making rounds in a motor vehicle?
Officer Callaghan: Proactive police work is much easier on a bicycle. I am able to see and move where I could not in a patrol vehicle which improves my ability to watch and catch the criminal element.
MIBM: Do you have to request to work as an officer on a bicycle or is it something that is assigned to most officers or part of a rotation?
Officer Callaghan: The bike unit is a specialty unit that an officer has to test for.
MIBM: Do you find that people approach you more readily when you are on a bicycle?
Officer Callaghan: Yes, which is great. Most of my best work as an officer came from information received by a community member during a casual contact. Interacting with the community helps me know what is occurring in the neighborhood and ultimately serve the community’s law enforcement needs.
MIBM: Do you ride a bicycle when you are not working? If so, are the trips recreational or do they replace car trips (e.g., do you ride to the store, dinner, work, school, or other errands/events)?
Officer Callaghan: I swam competitively in college and afterward took up triathlons. I have had the habit of biking into work (26 miles one way) once a week.
MIBM: Do you have an interesting story you can share that relates to being an officer on a bicycle?
Officer Callaghan: While working on a bike, officers often ride up on crime in progress situations because the criminals do not see a patrol vehicle approaching. I will hand over the specific examples to the reader’s imagination.
MIBM: What is a common question that you get as an officer on a bicycle that you don’t get with other assignments?
Officer Callaghan: Where is the best place to get breakfast around here?
MIBM: Is there anything else you would like people to know about officers on bicycles?
Officer Callaghan: We are here to help. Feel free to wave us down.
Learn more about the Sacramento Police Department.