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11 bikes added to LPD patrol unit

LAWTON, Okla._The Lawton Police Department has added 11 new bicycles to its crime-fighting fleet.

The new mountain bikes, which total around $11,000, are equipped with lights, a siren and a bag on the back for their ticket book. They were bought with money raised by the Citizens Police Academy Alumni and a law enforcement grant from the State of Oklahoma.

Right now, LPD only has one officer who actually patrols on his bike at night. Other than that, the other seven officers only use their bikes for big events in Lawton. These bikes will change all of that, allowing them to hire more bike patrol officers to be out on the streets catching bad guys.

Before, their bikes were not equipped with lights or sirens. Lawton Police Sergeant Mike Spencer has been on the bike patrol for eight years. He believes they will make a difference when it comes to his and other officers' safety.

"We have got somebody, you know, we are talking to in the middle of the night. We can turn these lights on and people can know that we are there," Sgt. Spencer explained.

Sergeant Spencer says when it comes to crime fighting, the bike allows you to be a part of your surroundings; Hearing things, smelling things and seeing things you couldn't while in a police car.

"It is so easy. You can actually witness crimes happen in front of you because the bad guys don't know you're there and you just ride up on them and do your job. I mean, it is a great, great tool," he said.

Sergeant Spencer says the tool comes along with 40 hours of training and a focus on staying physically fit.

"You could be riding for about four or five hours and then all of a sudden now you are chasing somebody or now you have to get off your bicycle and chase somebody. So, if you aren't in the physical condition to do that, then the bicycle program is not for you," Sgt. Spencer explained.

He says his hope for the new bikes is to be able to add four new bike patrol officers.

"We need to get more people on the bike patrol program who are still in patrol. Who are still out there every day and every night hunting bad guys," he said.

Each bike is a standard mountain bike costing approximately $1,000 fully equipped and including new bike racks. The Citizens Police Academy Alumni is also going to buy the bike patrol officers new uniforms.

The old bikes were at least 10 years old. Sergeant Spencer says some will be saved, but the rest will be scrapped. The new bikes are expected to last about 10 years.

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