City Approves Funds for Bike Officers

A pair of sheriff's deputies on 21-speed mountain bikes will continue patrolling the streets of Thousand Oaks after the City Council voted to continue funding the program.

The council approved spending more than $329,000 in the coming year for the two bicycle officers and an investigator.

City officials say the Ventura County Sheriff's Department's bicycle patrol unit, now in its second full year, has produced results.

"They do an outstanding job," said Sheriff's Cmdr. Kathy Kemp, who serves as the city's police chief. "They rode more than 2,300 miles last year."

The two bicycle deputies, Kevin Donoghue and Randy Watkins, made 185 arrests between June 1997 and June 1998 for crimes including drinking in public and loitering. They also made felony arrests for offenses such as outstanding warrants, Kemp said.

The greatest advantage for officers on bikes is that they can contact people with ease, Donoghue said.

"It's like being a foot cop," he said. "We can interact with people and tell them about the program, or we can just speak to citizens as we stop at locations around town."

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