Fort Gordon's newest law enforcement unit rolled into the post's neighborhoods last month.
The five-member bicycle patrol gives the military police a little more personal approach, according to Maj. Dominick Nutter, Fort Gordon's director of emergency services.
"When police are in a vehicle, the public doesn't get to interact with them," he said.
Nutter said the patrol is patterned after similar ones in other cities, including one nearby community.
"The bikes are the same as the ones in Columbia County," he said.
The military police were scheduled to train with Columbia County law enforcement personnel all this week. The unit has also received pointers from the National Security Agency at Fort Gordon.
"We have a great working relationship with NSA and Columbia County," Nutter said.
The bicycle patrol can handle many of the same situations officers in a police car would.
"We respond to everything -- dogs barking, children, traffic enforcement, loud music, domestic disputes," said Sgt. Edwin Rodriguez, a member of the bicycle patrol.
The bicycles have emergency lights, a siren and a radar detector and give the military police more flexibility in following suspects into areas a car cannot go, he said.
If the situation warrants, the police can place a bicycle on a rack on a patrol car and pursue a suspect, using the bike when needed.
The unit is headquartered out of a substation in the Gordon Terrace housing area, but it can be called to other places on post, said Nutter.
Rodriguez enjoys his new position.
"I have some personal experience with the bicycle patrol with the Los Angeles Police Department's training sessions," he said. "I'm an avid cyclist."
The unit has received positive response in only a few weeks on the job.
"There's been a lot of interest with the community. After school, kids like to shake your hand," said Spc. Jude Pichoff.
Nutter said the bicycle patrol is only the first of new many things on the horizon for the department. Soon, a patrol will be following suspects on all-terrain vehicles, and police cars will be equipped with laptop computers and in-dash cameras.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.