BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) — A new method to fight crime is now pedaling across Berkeley County. The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office recently started a bicycle patrol program.
Deputies rode through Pinopolis Thursday morning, including a stop at Rick Taylor’s home. “I think it’s a good thing. I think it’s more face to face interaction with the community.”
Taylor says when he first saw deputies ride up in his yard, he was surprised, but pleased. “Glad to see them. Glad to have them. You know, I have 3 sons. I like to see them protected.”
Berkeley County started the bike patrols with 6 deputies. “When you talk to an officer in a car, he’s in a car, and normally that badge, he’s still behind the badge in that car. On a bike its face to face. It’s more personable.”
Sgt. Jason Pottiger suggested the bike patrols to Berkeley County Sheriff Duane Lewis, after using the technique when he was an officer in Sumter. “Children love us, especially because they can get out and see an officer not hidden behind a car. They are out on things that they can ride as well.”
But they have also already apprehended suspects while on patrol. “We made some arrests for some armed robbery suspects, and I think we got some drugs as well.”
Berkeley County Sheriff Duane Lewis tells us that at a cost of only about $3,000 for gear, this is another tool to help build connections with the community which translates to lowering crime. “That’s how we really fight crime in this county. It’s the success we’ve had from the community and the public’s input.”
Taylor also says with three boys, bike patrols might help his kids stay on the right track. “I’d like to see them stay out of trouble. If they are anything like their parents, those bike cops will probably be busy.”
The sheriff’s department’s goal is to have at least two bikes on the road every day, weather permitting.