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UT Police Bike Patrol Benefits Officers and Community

November 04, 2022
Sherneka Cagle

UT Police Bike Patrol Benefits Officers and Community

In a typical day of riding, a public safety bike officer may put in as many as 20 to 30 miles – the equivalent to approximately 40,000 to 60,000 steps per shift. It is one of the perks of riding for UT Police Public Safety Officers who complete the required training to serve in this capacity. The other is interacting with the community and providing quick response and assistance to those in need. 

Public safety bike officers are often approached by patients, employees and students. They mostly need guidance on directions and buildings,” said Public Safety Supervisor David Johnsrud. “They also report suspicious activity or need some sort of assistance. 

Bike officers serve as ambassadors for UT Police and model the department’s Combined Protection Model by providing prevention, preparedness and protection safeguards for the community. 

Public safety bike officers ride throughout the north and south campus areas on Texas Medical Center (TMC) as well as parking garages used by UTHealth Houston and MD Anderson patients, workforce members and students. Where needed, bike officers are also deployed at Houston-area locations. 

Currently, UT Police has twelve Public Safety Officers (PSOs) trained and participating as bike patrol officers. 

Training for UT Police bike patrol officers is conducted by TMC Police, who provides a course for security bike officers that includes information and skills on the rules of the road, proper wearing of the uniform and personal protection gear, and basic care and maintenance of the bike. The ‘three-day’ course includes two day and one nighttime blocks, with the course culminating in a riding skills test.  

Public safety bike officers who complete the training course are paired with a veteran bike patrol officer who serves as their field training officer (FTO) and orientates them to their bike patrol duties.  

Like all PSOs, public safety bike officers carry a radio and respond to calls from the UT Police Risk Operations Center (ROC) as well as call in reports of suspicious activity or calls for assistance. 

Public safety bike officers can assist in calls involving code blue, medical emergencies, and code reds,” said Johnsrud. “They are often the first to meet the first responders, escort first responders through our extensive buildings, and report any additional information to the ROC for overall situational awareness.”  

On a typical weekday, a bike patrol officer is on duty during daytime hours. When staffing allows, two officers may split coverage of the north and south campus, or, alternately, ride in pairs. 

In order to avoid exertion in the field, UT Police rotates the bike officers with a fixed post assignment. 

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