As the new school year begins, students at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock will see a new addition to their campus: officers on bicycle patrol.
UALR Police Chief Edward Smith says having officers patrolling the campus on bicycles will give them an advantage over patrolling in cars.
“If we’re in a police car with the windows rolled up and we’re driving through campus, we really don’t have any contact with students, faculty, staff other than in a negative situation whenever they call us and something’s been taken from them or they happen to be a victim of a theft or a crime," Smith said.
"By instituting a bike patrol, officers are more visible, they have more contact with students, faculty, staff, they are able to get around on campus and get into the middle of campus,”
Chief Smith says in the fall of 2000, while he was a captain at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, an incident occurred where a professor was shot and killed. He says, if not for the bicycle patrol that they had there, the situation would have been much worse.
“The officers were at the location within 50 seconds because they were on bicycles and they were in the area. There’s no doubt in our mind, had these bike officers not been so quick to the scene, that it could have been a more tragic incident than it was,” said Smith.
The increased visibility of the officers is welcomed by most students. Some say it builds confidence about personal safety and the safety of their property.