County police turn to pedal-power |

County police turn to pedal-power

John Colson

Several officers with the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office had better start getting in shape.

Following a lead set by the Aspen Police Department, the county cops have purchased two Giant brand mountain bikes for pedal patrols in certain areas of Pitkin County.

According to officials with the department, the bikes were purchased because there are times and circumstances when a cop on a bicycle is more appropriate than a cop in a car.

The two new Giant Rainier mountain bikes are outfitted with street tires, and will have decals and a special police-model rear rack and pouch. But, according to investigator Joe DiSalvo, the bikes won’t be as “tricked out” as those owned by the APD.

DiSalvo arranged the purchase of the new bikes from Ajax Bike and Sport, at a cost of $1,500 for the pair.

The APD has been buying bikes from Ajax for about a decade, said Community Safety Officer Charlie Martin. The city program has saved the department considerable money, in terms of gasoline and maintenance costs, he said. The program has cost the APD approximately $10,000 over the decade, including mechanical training and equipment.

Sheriff’s investigator Ron Ryan became the county’s first biking deputy when he was living in Redstone. The department bought what came to be known as “the Redstone bike,” a used Specialized Rockhopper that came from the APD’s original bike fleet.

The impetus to go a little further into the world of cycling law enforcement got a boost recently, when a man tried to sexually assault a woman who was jogging along the Rio Grande Trail. That trail is mostly within the county.

Ryan said he and Aspen detective Glenn Schaffer rode a couple of APD bikes down the trail as part of their investigation, asking people they encountered if they had seen the assault.

“People appreciated seeing us riding down there,” Ryan said.

Sheriff Bob Braudis said the move to buy the new bikes was in large part prompted by the fact that Ryan got “a lot of favorable feedback from people who saw him on the bike.”

He said the bikes can be used to patrol the trail and other spots where cars might not be the best way of getting around.

“We decided to add a couple of bikes to the fleet, to use where it’s appropriate,” Braudis said, including during special events in the county and in places where a vehicle cannot go.

The bikes are still being outfitted with decals and other gear, DiSalvo said, and won’t be put into service until next week.

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Posted: Friday, July 21, 2000

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