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Is it safer for police officers to patrol on foot or bicycle as compared to in cars?

Brian Freskos
Police patrol

A Wilmington police officer chats with a resident while on patrol. (StarNews file photo.

Patroling on foot and bicycle has several advantages, but it can also pose more risk for officers.

George Erwin, director of the North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police, said officers walking or cycling an area have more flexibility to maneuver and can go places they can’t get to in a patrol car. It gives them a better opportunity to observe what’s going on in their zones.

What walking and riding don’t do is provide officers the cover and protection of a car. Officers can carry a lot of equipment, like a shotgun, in their patrol cars. Also, the car itself is a barrier. Even so, officers, just like everyone else, are subject to collisions. More and more officers are getting hit and killed by motorists on the highway while they’re conducting traffic stops.

In an email, Deputy Chief James Moore of the Wilmington Police Department, had this to say: “Police Officers utilize the most efficient and effective modes of conveyances, i.e., vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles and foot to proactively patrol the various areas of the city. All of the listed conveyances have inherent dangers of collisions with other conveyances.”

User-contributed question by:
Johniece Stewart

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