RUTHERFORD COUNTY, TENN - People are invited to visit with Rutherford County Sheriff’s deputies who ride bicycles during community events.
Cpl. Austin Watson leads the Bike Patrol with Patrol Deputies Andrew Quintal, Breana Copeland and Jimmy Coleman and SRO Matt Vaughn.
They do more than just ride the bicycles. Deputies on bicycles may be able to respond quicker to emergencies on bicycles during crowded community events, Watson said. “The Bike Patrol is an effective part of what the Sheriff’s Office does in community policing in getting out and interacting with people and kids,” Watson said. “We’re on bikes so we can see people more.”
Bike Patrol deputies completed a 32-hour International Police Mountain Bike Association course in bicycle safety taught by MTSU Master Patrol Officer Leroy Carter.
Officers learned bicycling at slow speeds, dealing with felons and people with mental health illnesses, patrolling tactics, controlling balance and riding between cars. INTIMBA designed the course. “On bike patrol, you’re more approachable by people,” Carter said. “Bike patrol is mingling with the crowds. It builds rapport with people.”
Watson said Bike Patrol deputies already patrolled during the high school graduations. They hope to meet people during the Great Tennessee Air Show this weekend in Smyrna. “People want to see site security and can approach us at events,” Watson said. “We just want to help out.”