Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos Police Department plans to unveil new bicycle patrols during the Arts & Wine Festival this weekend.
Residents and visitors can expect to see something new from the Los Altos Police Department in the form of bicycle patrols at the upcoming Arts & Wine Festival.
According to Los Altos Police Capt. Andy Galea, the department recently purchased five new bicycles to kick-start bicycle patrols for special events and everyday use. The new effort debuts at the annual Arts & Wine Festival in downtown Los Altos this weekend.
Galea told the Town Crier that the idea of adding bicycle patrols has been discussed for several years and offers advantages over traditional cars in policing areas with large concentrations of people – like the festival.
“It’s about functionality,” said Galea, who noted that officers on bike patrol would each be outfitted with a new uniform that includes shorts, a polo shirt and bike helmet. “(Bike patrols) help us get into places cars can’t go – that’s one of the main reasons for doing this. … For any police department that has events like Los Altos does, it’s great to police them (with bike patrols).”
Galea said the bicycle patrols will provide benefits to the general public as well.
“Officers on bikes are obviously a lot more accessible and approachable,” he said. “It’s more inviting to open up a conversation with an officer on a bike. I think the community will be very receptive.”
The police bicycles are equipped with Los Altos Police decals, a first aid kit, a horn and emergency lights. All officers participating in bike patrols are required to pass a law-enforcement training course that focuses on operating bicycles in high-traffic areas and other situations.
Galea added that the bike patrols fall in line with a Los Altos culture that encourages the use of bicycles for transportation and recreation.
“Los Altos and its surrounding communities are very bike-friendly and encourage more bike riding, so I think this will be well-received,” he said.
Galea said residents could expect to see officers patrol areas of Los Altos by bike in the future, including parks and the downtown area. He noted that bicycle patrols would be assigned at the discretion of patrol supervisors.