The Vicenza Military Police are seeking to create more face time with the community by using bicycles while on patrol. They recently participated in training at Caserma Del Din to help them achieve this goal.
The MPs currently have five trained Soldiers, but due to recent moves it was determined that an additional training session was needed. The training used is the International Police Mountain Bicycle Association standards. The force will soon receive new bicycles equipped with lights and sirens that cost nearly $1,800 a piece, said USAG Vicenza Directorate of Emergency Services officials.
"The training our force receives includes recognizing road hazards and maneuvering smartly to lessen injuries to themselves or the equipment," said Robert Caulford, law enforcement operations officer. "By having our police on bicycles we are removing the barrier that the vehicle creates."
The MPs are issued helmets, gloves and eye protection as a part of the uniform that also includes brightly colored shirts and pants with reflectors. The bicycles are also equipped with high-visibility headlights. The ultimate goal of the DES is to have all military police trained on bicycle patrol, said Caulford.
One new MP, Pvt. 1st Class Tyler Ehnis, said that while he is new to the bicycle patrols, he doesn't feel intimidated to do his job while on a bike.
"By using the bicycle, I can build a better relationship with the community," Ehnis said.
During the training the Soldiers learned how to balance on the bicycle and move through obstacle courses. Timed rides of three miles were done throughout the training. The Soldiers also learned to dismount quickly, practiced off-road cycling and took a night ride. The final test was a 20-mile ride.
"This is pass or fail and not everyone passes, but we do our best to make sure our Soldiers are safe," said Sgt. 1st Class Troy Wolverton, provost sergeant.