WILSHIRE : LAPD to Add More Bikes to Patrol Unit
In the two months since the LAPD’s Wilshire Division initiated its two-officer bicycle patrol, the program has met with such enthusiasm from the community that local residents and small business owners recently passed the hat to collect approximately $7,000 for the purchase of four new bikes.
Costing about $1,200 each, the new specially equipped mountain bikes will hit the streets next Sunday mounted by four Wilshire patrol officers who began training for bicycle duty when the program started, in the hope there would eventually be more bikes. Officers Andrea Lucie, Angie Porter, Lewis Lenchuck and Jeffrey Allen will join Steve Crane and Blake Budai in the bike detail.
Most of the donations came from individuals, a majority of them property owners and merchants from the Korean community.
Yohngsohk Choe, a community activist who has spearheaded the drive to raise funds to transform a former Western Avenue bank building into a community police substation, also helped organize the collection effort for the bikes.
“The response was fantastic, much more than I expected,” Choe said.
The first two bikes were also purchased with donations, acquired through the Wilshire Community Police Council, a fund-raising unit for the division.
Capt. Lyman Doster, who supervises the bike detail, said the new units will go into action on the same day the division switches to a three-day, 12-hour shift workweek, along with the Rampart, Harbor and Van Nuys divisions.
This means the six bicycle officers will spend part of each shift in patrol vehicles, then switch to bikes.
The bike units will be in the field from approximately 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, with two bikes out on Monday and Tuesday, all six out on Wednesday, and four out on Thursday and Friday. The bike patrol will be deployed as needed on weekends, Doster said.
Division remapping, which also goes into effect next Sunday, means the bike patrol will have a little more ground to cover as the Wilshire Division takes over the area of Koreatown bounded by 8th Street to the north, Pico Boulevard to the south, Hoover Street to the east and Normandie Avenue to the west, an area previously covered by the Rampart Division.
Since the bike patrol sticks primarily to commercial corridors, the division’s other newly acquired area--a part of Hancock Park previously covered by Hollywood police--will not be patrolled by the bike officers, Doster said.