The Brainerd Police Department currently supports an active Bicycle Patrol Unit. The unit consists of four Smith and Wesson patrol bicycles and six officers. The officers, during summer months, routinely usually working in pairs, will patrol downtown streets, neighborhood parks and streets on bicycle. Bicycle patrol is especially necessary during Fourth of July festivities due to their increased mobility.
A second advantage to police on bicycles is increased visibility. With this visibility also comes an increase in human contact with the community. In fact, it is much like the old "Beat Officers" who used to walk the streets. They knew people by name and had a good feel for the neighborhoods at a personal level. On a bicycle, an officer is much more approachable than in a car and can help in building new contacts and trust from the citizens. This allows officers to be proactive in fighting crime rather than reactive. Bicycle patrol officers can be much more aware of concerns before they turn into problems.
A bicycle patrol is also fantastic for public events such as concerts, sporting events, festivals, road races and other large gatherings. An officer can move quickly through a crowd while on a bike, and can find short cuts, etc., where a patrol car would have very diminished mobility in the same situation.
This same mobility also adds a "stealth" advantage to bike patrols versus patrol vehicles. An officer on a bike is much smaller, quieter, and can go places that are not easily accessible to patrol vehicles.