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Ithaca College Hosts Police Bike School

 ITHACA, NY — Police officers from more than a dozen law enforcement agencies in central New York will be attending the 2011 Trident Mountain Bike School at Ithaca College. The 18th annual edition of the school, which runs July 11–15, teaches participants how to use bicycling as a law enforcement tool.

The bike school includes classroom instruction on such topics as vehicle and traffic law, bicycle maintenance, nutrition and fitness. Officers will take to the streets, off-road trails and campus parking lots to learn basic cycling techniques as well as obstacle negotiation; dismounts, takedowns and suspect contact tactics; firearms familiarization incorporating the bike; and community-oriented policing.

Erik Merlin, a master patrol officer/bicycle patrol officer with the Ithaca College Office of Public Safety, is the program’s director. He is a certified instructor through New York State and by the Law Enforcement Bicycle Association and International Police Mountain Bike Association. He notes that bicycles are an important tool for law enforcement agencies in both community policing and deterring crime.

“Bike patrols have proven to be an enhancement to police capabilities and community interaction,” said Merlin. “Riders are often able to respond to incidents faster than other units. And with the price of fuel today, bicycles can be a means of adding to a department’s equipment without adding greatly to its costs.”

Law enforcement agencies represented at the school will include the Cities of Ithaca and Cortland and Villages of Watkins Glen, Endicott, Ogdensburg, Manlius, Geneva and Massena Police Departments; the Yates and Chemung County Sheriff’s Departments; the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Police; and the SUNY Alfred and Ithaca College Offices of Public Safety.

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