Monday, October 20, 2003
Officers Gorishti and Rimick underwent rigorous training in July to become the first members of the new bike patrol unit. The week-long training was led by officers from the Connecticut State Police and Southern Connecticut State University police departments, who are certified instructors with the International Police Mountain Bike Association.
Riding their customized, lightweight Stumpjumper mountain bikes up to 20 miles per day under different weather conditions and terrains, Officers Gorishti and Rimick became proficient in high-speed and low-speed maneuvers, both on and off the road. As part of their training, the officers learned how to ride through narrow spaces, over curbs and other obstacles, up and down stairways and among crowds.
The mobility of the bikes enables the officers to patrol areas that are inaccessible to vehicles, for example the Glacier Ridge Trail and other wooded sections of the 110-acre campus. Officers on bikes are viewed as less intimidating and more approachable than officers patrolling by car and their presence helps project a more positive image within the community. And, through the increased contact with the public, the officers are able to educate people about such issues as safe cycling, protective gear, and cycling laws.
NVCC Sgt. Toni Rinaldi recommended that NVCC establish the new unit after observing the success of bike patrols within municipalities and at other college campuses. “Bike patrols are extremely successful because of the approachability and accessibility of the officers,” she said. “You don’t always get that in a patrol car, or even on foot. It’s a great public relations tool and it’s a great patrol enhancer as well. These officers are ready for any challenge they may face.”
“With the bikes, we can cover so much more ground than we can on a regular foot patrol, and we also make contacts along the way, which you can’t easily do in a cruiser,” Officer Gorishti said.
Added Officer Rimick: “When you show up in the cruiser, the immediate reaction is ‘Why are you here? What’s going on?’ People think something is wrong. With the bikes, people are happy to see you. Our campus is really an ideal environment for a bike patrol.”
“We take the ‘community’ part of this college’s name very seriously,” said NVCC President Richard Sanders. “The use of the Public Safety bicycle patrol serves to enhance services to the 5,000 people on average who come to Naugatuck Valley Community College each day.”