• Police officers listen as Jennifer Jutkofsky, LEBA instructor talks about how to apply lessons learned from previous classes taught about bike riding safety, June 18. Police officers attending the training had to attend 15 classes before being certified.

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    Police officers listen as Jennifer Jutkofsky, LEBA instructor talks about how to apply lessons learned from previous classes taught about bike riding safety, June 18. Police officers attending the training had to attend 15 classes before being...

  • Jennifer Jutkofsky, Law Enforcement Bicycle Association instructor, speaks with police officers about the importance of keeping their eyes on the road before their first class bike ride, June 18. The police officers attended a weeklong mountain bike certification course on Fort Jackson.

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    Jennifer Jutkofsky, Law Enforcement Bicycle Association instructor, speaks with police officers about the importance of keeping their eyes on the road before their first class bike ride, June 18. The police officers attended a weeklong mountain bike...

  • Jutkofsky assists Walter Vance, an officer with the Palmetto Health Police Department, with fixing his bike after completing a six-mile bike ride.

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    Jutkofsky assists Walter Vance, an officer with the Palmetto Health Police Department, with fixing his bike after completing a six-mile bike ride.

  • Raymond Meals, a Fort Jackson police officer, fires one round at a target to receive points toward certification for the Mountain Bike Certification Course.

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    Raymond Meals, a Fort Jackson police officer, fires one round at a target to receive points toward certification for the Mountain Bike Certification Course.

  • Raymond Meals, a police officer with the Fort Jackson Directorate of Emergency Services, is on his way to a staged crime scene where an officer was shot. The scenario includes riding the bike a quarter of a mile, dismounting the bike and delivering three well-aimed shots at the provided targets

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    Raymond Meals, a police officer with the Fort Jackson Directorate of Emergency Services, is on his way to a staged crime scene where an officer was shot. The scenario includes riding the bike a quarter of a mile, dismounting the bike and delivering...

  • Nicholas Scott, an officer with the Columbia Police Department, fires his pistol at three separate targets, Friday during a training session at Fort Jackson.

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    Nicholas Scott, an officer with the Columbia Police Department, fires his pistol at three separate targets, Friday during a training session at Fort Jackson.

FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Five Fort Jackson police officers made history last week by becoming the first certified mountain bike police officers on post.

The Directorate of Emergency Services partnered with the Columbia and Palmetto Health police departments to host a Mountain Bike Training Certification Course for a group of 10 police officers. After the weeklong training that included how to maintain a bike, nutrition classes and riding more than 60 miles, the police officers who participated are "Class A Certified" mountain bike police officers through the Law Enforcement Bicycle Association.

"I thought the training was very good overall. l loved the stress part of it and I think we should do it more often," said Cpl. Raymond Meals, Fort Jackson police officer.

The training took the police officers through unfamiliar terrain.

"These guys had to do a 26-mile bike ride in one day through rugged terrain, rocks, mud and water, soft sand, the heat, the elements of the weather," said Sgt. Daniel Wesley, who is a certified mountain bike police officer with the Columbia Police Department and was one of the instructors of the course.

LEBA requires an officer to complete four consecutive days of mountain bike training covering various topics to receive the certification.

"What this (training) is going to do is get our officers out in the community. This helps our people become more comfortable with police officers in the community," said Capt. Fred Paxton, Fort Jackson police supervisor.

"It's always very important to have that community contact. We've lost an element (mountain bike officers) during that time of post-Sept. 11, when law enforcement took a big shift and moved into a more technological range because of the type of threat that may have been out that time," said Jennifer Jutkofsky, Columbia police officer and LEBA instructor.

"Using technology is an absolute must in this profession because we must keep up with everyone else out there, but the factor that we cannot lose is the element of the officer being out of the car and being able to have community contact, which a vehicle does not allow," she said.

She said officers on mountain bikes also give police departments the opportunity to achieve a tactical dynamic that cannot be attained in a vehicle. The Fort Jackson mountain bike police officers are expected to be used in the housing areas and other places where cars are unable to pursue a suspect, Paxton said.

"We want to be a positive, approachable role model for the kids," Meals said.

Page last updated Fri June 29th, 2012 at 10:14