Grant Will Bolster Police Bike Patrol

The Police Department will soon be getting new wheels--bicycle wheels, that is.

An application for a $31,751 Federal Bureau of Justice grant has been preapproved and need only be submitted to the federal government for funding. Camarillo City Manager Bill Little expects the funds to be available within the next month.

The grant conditions require the city to chip in $3,528.

The bike patrol team, which began in June 1996 with four bikes, has been bound by the weather because members don't have the gear to keep warm. The additional funds will ensure that the patrol will operate year-round by providing it with the necessary equipment, according to Sgt. Keith Lazz.

Most of the money, however, will go to paying officers overtime and purchasing two new bikes, Lazz said.

The bike patrol team has advantages over the patrol cars.

"We're less visible to criminals who are used to looking for black and whites," said Det. Bill Schierman, head of the bike patrol.

Even though the team has been affected by the cooler temperatures and hasn't been operating on a regular schedule, it's still averaging at least 10 arrests per month.

"We make an arrest every time we go out," Schierman noted.

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