Bellevue’s bike-patrol officers resumed work Friday, after a six-year absence. The unit had been cut to save money during the recession.
Bellevue Police Department’s bicycle patrol unit hit the streets Friday after a six-year absence as the city made budget cuts during the recession.
In December, the City Council allocated $529,000 to its 2016 budget to restore the unit. The funding adds five officers. The first two bike officers and a supervisor began patrols Friday. An additional two officers will join the bike team later this year, according to the Police Department.
Most of the money goes toward the officers, but it will also allow the department to buy five new heavy-duty bikes.
Although the bike patrol was inactive, bicycle officers for the Bellevue crowd-control unit were called on to help Seattle police the past few years during May Day events, which have frequently turned violent.
Bike patrols can get to places a typical patrol car cannot, such as parks, trails and areas with a high volume of foot and vehicular traffic.
Police Chief Steve Mylett, in a statement, said the would be a “powerful tool in our downtown core, as well as our many parks and our bike paths and trails.”