Group raises money for bike patrol officers - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Group raises money for bike patrol officers

LAWTON, Okla._Lawton's bike riding police officers got a helping hand Saturday from the Citizen's Police Academy Alumni.

The group held a spaghetti dinner to raise money to buy uniforms so the department can hire more bike patrol officers.

Saturday's fundraiser highlighted officers that aren't always in the spotlight, but by raising awareness of the vital role they play in the department, they hope their numbers will grow.

"We have the bikes we just need the clothes to equip the officers," said Tonya Criger.

Detective Tonya Criger has been on bike patrol for the last 12 years. She also serves as the trainer for the departments' bike riding officers.

"Teach them how to operate at slow speeds (and) fast speeds. It's a hard program to complete," said Criger.

Criger says they can catch crimes and go places other patrol officers can't because their bikes give an element of surprise.

"People don't expect us to be on bicycles so we have ridden up on all kinds of situations and it's an opportunity to a little more stealthy I guess than a patrol car," she said.

Criger says being on patrol while riding her bike allows her to interact with the community more.

"It's a lot different being on a bicycle versus a car you are more approachable to the citizens. We see and hear a lot more things on the bicycle than you do in your car. It gives us an opportunity to patrol in a different way," she said.

In all, the group raised about $700 Saturday. That means they can recruit 4 more officers, giving them more opportunities to patrol the streets of Lawton on their bikes.

"I can't say enough. I mean we love these guys and everything they do and how hard they work and we would just do anything for them," said Bonnie Blackburn, Citizens Academy Alum.

Currently there are only 8 officers on bike patrol but they've been raising money since last September. After Saturday's fundraiser the group is just $200 shy of their $8,200 goal.

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