AVON, Ohio - Part of the Avon Police Department is now using peddle power to patrol. For the first time, the police department has a bike unit.
The unit took part in the annual Memorial Day parade Monday morning. The Avon Police Department traded two old patrol cars with another department for four bicycles.
"I think they are going to be highly popular," said Officer Jeannine Mazzeo, one member of the new unit.
Mazzeo was a member of the bike unit at her last department. "Driving through the developments on a bike allowed you to go into a stealth mode," Mazzeo said.
But the biggest advantage, police said, is community policing. "I think it's a great opportunity for us to be able to interact with the community we serve. It takes down the barriers of being in a patrol car," said Sgt. Leroy Medina.
The new crime-fighting tool rolled out this holiday weekend. The bikes will be used in nice weather in both neighborhoods and areas that are more difficult to patrol like shopping centers. Police hope the bike unit will build relationships with residents through community policing but also help put the brakes on crime.
"We can get to areas the cruisers can't,” explained Officer David Layne. “Wooded areas access is a lot easier on bikes,” Layne said.
The department currently has four bikes. They hope to get two more. Currently, four officers are certified to be part of the bike unit.