Maj. Richard Zapal, 2nd from right, and patrol officers chat with Ellis Square visitors. (Source: SCMPD)
SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -
Savannah-ChathamMetro Police officers and a patrol major recently completed a two-day course onpatrolling bicycles.
Maj. Richard Zapal, commander of theNorth Patrol Division of the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Dept., joinedofficers in their regular patrol of the downtown area.
"Bicycle patrols give officer's theopportunities to interact with the public they serve that they don't get whileriding in cars," he said in a statement. "We were able to stop and chat withresidents and visitors, welcome them to the city where appropriate and heartheir concerns. That's the purpose of the bicycle patrols and it adds animportant element into what we do."
Veteran officers and Zapal took a 16-hourMetro Police Bicycle Course on Feb. 19 that teaches them effective police workon bicycles. The class of 10 was the inaugural course taught exclusively by theSCMPD Training Unit. That unit has been certified to teach that class afterSavannah Mayor-Council funded the purchase of 25 new specialized policebicycles in 2013.
Five bicycles are assigned to each ofthe five precincts. Officers are required to complete the course beforepatrolling on them. Zapal was riding his own police bicycle.