Gay Shepherd, TTU chief of police, has approved the initiative for a campus bicycle patrolman on weeknights.
Jesse Allen, a TTU police officer, proposed the idea. Shepherd said she approved of the idea and was enthusiastic to accept his request to bicycle patrol the campus on weeknights.
Allen will be using repaired spare bicycles that were previously being stored in the University police station.
“[She] had them serviced like a vehicle when I asked,” Allen said. Shepherd said the bicycles must be durable and just as reliable as a squad car. Shepherd said she plans to send Allen to police bike patrol school for training in the spring or as soon as the school becomes available.
According to The Eagle ’98 yearbook, the first and the last time Tech had the bicycle patrol program was in 1995. Shepherd said the program experienced setbacks because it was difficult to keep the program staffed. Officers must have a lot of endurance; they are required to stay on their bikes for eight hours at a time.
Allen said his intention is to stay on the bike as much as possible, even in the winter. He said he still has to be accessible in the car, especially if there are fewer officers during the week but that he prefers bicycle patrol.
Allen said bike patrol makes him more accessible to the students and they feel it makes him easier to talk to. His duties on job include answering dorm calls and patrolling the parking lots at night.
“It’s really good community relations,” Shepherd said. “The officers are good ambassadors for the University because they’re approachable.”
“I would love to see more officers for the program for the program,” Shepherd said. “It’s easier to maneuver a bike on a pedestrian campus than a patrol car and it’s cheaper.”
Allen is a former graduate of TTU with a concentration in biology. He has been working for University Police since July of 2013. Before getting hired at TTU, he worked for the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department and the Celina Police Department since 2010. He’s also a certified EMT, one of three working at the campus.
Allen is currently the only patrol officer riding at night and the future of having more patrol officers is unknown.