Bike patrols give cops more presence in Mount Holly

By Sarah Melton

Mount Holly police officer Stan Boswell patrols a local neighborhood on a bike. The department recently got two new bikes. (Photo by Sarah Melton)

MOUNT HOLLY – Not all police officers use patrol cars to catch crime. 

Some use bicycles, including Mount Holly Police Officer Stan Boswell. Boswell enjoys patrolling the city’s parks, neighborhoods and special events on bike for many reasons. Bikes can be particularly useful in making drug busts and catching people breaking into cars or trespassing on property.

“When we are in neighborhoods, they see our cars coming through, but they are less noticeable of me on a bike,” said Boswll, who has lost 35 pounds since joining bike patrol. “I stop and talk to the residents and people walking their dogs. It seems like I am more approachable to the public on a bike.”

Recently, the police department received new bikes for Boswell and the other officers that use them for patrolling. In May, the Mount Holly Community Development Foundation presented the police department with two Fuji bikes at the city council meeting. The foundation made a $700.63 matching grant to the police department, and the department purchased the second bike out of its budget.

“The foundation decided several years ago to allocate monies to help the city and police department actively promote our trails and greenways,” said Bobby Black, chairman of the foundation, said. “The police department has street bicycles, but we wanted to show our commitment to their active presence along the greenways.”

The new bikes have dual disk brakes, double pistons, shock absorbers and 26 speeds. The rims are reflective, and flashing strobe lights adorn the front of the bikes to help with visibility. The bikes even have flashing blue lights similar to patrol cars.

“It’s a really great bike,” Boswell said. “It’s lightweight and very comfortable.”

Police Chief David Belk said some of the current bikes were more than 10 years old and requiring maintenance. The department originally budgeted for one new bike but did not expect to get a second bike for free, he said 

 “The partnership with the foundation was great, and it showed me their commitment to the city,” Belk said.

Mount Holly is not the only city that has officers patrolling on bikes. Charlotte Police Officer Joe Scalise patrols Uptown Charlotte, along with 8 to 10 other officers on a daily basis, using bikes. But there are plenty of other officers involved in the bike patrol throughout the entire city at all hours of the day and during special events.

“We are limited on some things we can do as far as taking people to jail and responding to accidents, but bikes are good for drug work,” Scalise said. “If someone can see a car coming from a long ways away, it’s going to alert the person to move on, whereas I can sneak around and watch and see what’s going on before a car can.”

Scalise has worked in the Bike Patrol Division for 10 of the 17 years he’s been with the police department. He got involved with bike patrol because he wanted to try something different and get more involved in the community. Also, Scalise gets to exercise while he’s working, riding as many as 30 miles a day at times.

“It is more demanding, but it’s a lot of fun,” Scalise said.

Mount Holly Police Capt. Shannon Harris said the bike patrol unit has always been popular with residents in the city. At one time, the department stopped using bicycles to patrol due to lack of certified staff and adequate bikes, and the community noticed. 

“When we couldn’t get people on the bikes, we had people call and ask if we did bike patrol any more during the short time we were not able to do it,” Harris said. “It is a really good public relations tool because people absolutely love it.” q

Did you like this? Share it:

Leave a Reply