The USF Bicycle Squad is a Special Deployment Unit of the USF Police Department. The squad is made up of 10 sworn officers who are bike certified. Officers complete 40 hours of training with the International Police Mountain Bike Association or the Law Enforcement Bicycle Association to become authorized to ride police bikes. Students and staff are more likely to interact with an officer on a bike if they have questions or concerns about safety because the officers are visible and friendly. “Research finds that an officer on a bike is more approachable,” Lt. Marty King says.
The Bicycle Squad goes to the Bull Market every Wednesday and sets up a booth for students to register bicycles and other personal property. The officers give students theft-prevention tips. For instance, students should lock bicycles with U-bolts instead of cable locks, in areas that are well traveled and well lit. The squad also attends special events like student orientation to provide new students with information and support, and talk with them about walking and biking safely on USF’s campus. The USF Bicycle Squad is an important part of the “educational, community-oriented aspect of what we do,” Lt. King says. “One of the main goals of the Special Deployment Unit is to make the USF Campus a safe environment for those who traverse the area on bicycle and foot. It is through enforcement, education and awareness that we can affect positive change. Our community is always encouraged to stop and speak with our bike officers as they see them throughout the campus.”