News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Sheriff’s bike patrols train in Sisters

In preparation for the warm weather and tourist and special event season, two of Sisters’ finest took part in a day-long bicycle training held at the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Sisters substation.

Deputies Mike Hudson and Josh Westfall, along with officers from Bend, Sunriver, and Black Butte Ranch, spent the morning weaving around cones in the parking lot, riding through the forest on multi-use dirt trails, and on paved and graveled roads. The afternoon was spent working on intersection management, hand signals, riding in pairs and single file, suspect contact protocols, and the defensive use of bikes if needed.

Hudson and Westfall join Lt. Chad Davis and Deputy Brian Morris, who did the training last year, as certified to ride patrols on their bicycles.

Hudson explained that bicycle patrol is supplemental to their regular patrol car duty. Their cars are fitted with racks to carry their bikes so they can park the car in the center of town and use their bikes to patrol for speeding and distracted drivers. If they receive a call requiring their patrol car, it is close at hand without having to return to the substation. Davis explained further that the bike patrols are an auxiliary function of community policing and used mainly for special events and heavy tourist times.

According to the deputies, Sisters’ street layout and lack of hills make this the perfect place for bike patrols. In heavy traffic times, they can get from one end of town to the other faster than if they were in their cars.

“Being on bikes is a great way for us to integrate into the community, by being more approachable than we are when in our patrol cars,” said Hudson. “We can also sit on our bikes on the sidewalk right at an intersection to observe traffic, something not as easy in a vehicle.”

Westfall, who grew up in Central Oregon riding his bike, said, “I am excited about the opportunity to do the bike patrol. It provides an excellent way for us to interact with the residents and tourists.”

Hudson has been riding his own mountain bike for pleasure more since moving to Central Oregon. Being able to patrol by bicycle is “just plain fun” as well as “healthy,” Hudson told The Nugget.

The bikes are equipped with flashing red and blue lights on the handlebars. Their bike uniforms will include official department shorts.

“If you see me on the street on my bike, flag me down and say hi or ask me a question,” Hudson encouraged the public. “And if it’s a hot day, I’d love some water!”

Hudson recounted his traffic control duty last summer for the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show when it was very hot, and he had people providing him with water all day long.

“That’s the kind of support we get from the community, and we appreciate it,” Hudson said.

The bike patrols will be out for all the citywide events as well as various times throughout the summer.


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