MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) — For the next week, the parking lot behind the Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) Police Department will be home to police officers and their bikes.
“A lot of them think it’s just getting on a bike, but after coming through some of these obstacles, they find it’s not that easy,” said Leroy Carter.
Carter is the master patrol officer who started his career with the MTSU Police Department 22 years ago on a bike.
“When I first got hired on, our chief we had at the time wanted to start the bike units again,” he said. “So he asked me if I wanted to ride a bike. One of the other officers trained me, and I ended up going to bike school.”
He’s certified to train officers, and while it might not be a walk in the park, Carter knows the benefits of patrolling on a bike.
“I get to talk to students,” he said. “They get to talk to me. Also you get students that are on bicycles…it gives you something that you have in common and you’re able to talk to them about.”
Administrative Capt. Jeff Martinez is pushing for that visibility.
“With bike patrol, you are in and amongst everybody,” he said. “You’re riding through the parking lots, through the sidewalks, and you have that chance to get more of a one-on-one feeling with everybody.”
As the summer approaches, Martinez said they’ll be conducting more training for their officers.
“They get familiar with the bikes (and) get use to riding at different speeds,” he said. “Some speeds are slower, and some people have a different ability on bikes, so we’re trying to get the basics down.”
The goal is that by the fall they’ll soon have more officers patrolling the campus on bikes, working to keep students safe.
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“If a parent knows that a university, campus, a city is safe, then it makes the parents feel a lot safer,” said Carter.
Officers will undergo a 32-hour training course over the next four days.
The Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office also has deputies undergoing training with MTSU officers as well.