Officers on wheels are bringing Coaldale's police force closer to their community. The borough has been using its bike patrol more often, with positive results.
The police department has had the bike for about two years.
"The officer will put it on the back of the cruiser and secure it and take it to the other end of the borough. He'll park the cruiser, take the bike off and patrol the avenues," said Police Chief Tim Delaney.
The bike is used mostly on night shifts, he said.
The silence and stealth are a big plus.
"About nine months ago, we caught two (people) up on Lehigh Street with stolen dirt bikes. The officer who was on the bike came right to them, and before they knew it, there he was they didn't have a chance to go anywhere. Sure enough, they had been stolen out of Summit Hill," Delaney said.
"We try to use it when there are two officers on duty. That way, if one has a call and the other is on the bike somewhere and he has someone in custody, he can call the other unit down and transport him that way," he said.
Delaney hopes to expand the program, which he believes brings police closer to their community.
The bike patrol allows residents to get to know their police officers, ask them questions, offer tips and share concerns, he said.
"Especially in the evening, people are out on their porches, they stop and are amazed they can actually reach out and talk to an officer instead of just seeing the cruiser go by," Delaney said.
Councilman Tom Keerans likes the idea.
"Personally, I strongly believe in the bike patrols," he said. "One of the most beneficial aspects of these patrols is that it brings more interaction between the police force and the residents of our community."
Officer Joseph Krebs started bike patrol when he began working in the borough in April.
What does he like best about it?
"Exercise," he said.
He hadn't ridden a bike in years.
"At first, I thought I'd be out of shape, but I got right back into it," said Krebs, who is a runner.
"You get to see more people, and talk with them, seeing what they're doing out late," he said.
The benefits of bike patrol are clear to Krebs. Recently, he stopped a young male walking down a borough street in the wee hours of the morning, carrying a book bag.
"It turned out he was just going to a friend's house," Krebs said.