by Lisa Tome
Anthony Devine is slightly embarrassed about that youtube.com video.
Devine, an Elkton police officer who was training to patrol on a bike when he fell into a creek, has improved since then. He finished the bike officer training in mid June, stretching his reach as an officer. He's been on the force for three years.
His training included basic riding techniques, hand signals, bike traffic law, bicycle maintenance, and more. Devine already knew the basics. "I knew how to ride a bike already," laughed Devine.
He is an imposing figure on the bicycle. He is 6'6" tall and the bike adds to his height. "People are much more receptive when you are on the bike. You're easier to talk to. I get flagged down by business owners, kids, and motorists," he said.
He carries about five pounds of extra weight on the bicycle, including citation books, a tire tube, and bottled water. The bicycle is also equipped with lights and a siren.
The bike patrol is mostly during overtime shifts. Officers work downtown events such as First Friday, the downtown car shows, and Music on Main. They also can use their pedal power during their regular shifts if it is approved by their supervisor. "I might go four or five miles during an event," he said.
The uniforms are different than those worn while in cruisers. Devine said he likes wearing shorts, sneakers, and a lightweight t-shirt as he pedals along. "It's definitely a work out getting through town," he said. "I try to eat before I start. But I am hungry when I'm done."
He said he fields a lot of questions about being an officer on a bike.
Kids always ask "how fast does it go?" And I say "as fast as I can pedal," laughed Devine.