Bike patrols are out on Costa Mesa’s streets again

For the first time in 15 years, Costa Mesa police are patrolling city streets on bicycle.

The part-time unit, staffed with two patrol sergeants and six officers, is based out of the city’s Westside substation. Police hope to have the bike officers out once or twice a week, particularly to address a recent uptick in drug sales and criminal activity within city parks.

“At this point it’s been well-received by the community,” said city spokesman Tony Dodero on Thursday. “In the future, we can see them doing this more than twice a week.”

Within minutes of starting the first day’s deployment on Aug. 14, three of the two-wheeled officers apprehended a drug suspect on West 19th Street, according to a city news release.

By the end of the day, the officers logged eight arrests, several of them drug related, and issued 11 citations.

They also met 50 residents and handed out stickers to children.

Capt. Mark Manley, who spearheaded bringing the program back, hopes to add more officers to the mix.

“As staffing continues to increase, we are looking into ways to be more creative and dynamic in the way we do policing,” Manley said in a statement. “This is a self-contained unit that will tackle quality-of-life issues and criminal activity. We can go anywhere citywide.”

Police contend that the benefits of bike patrols include that they are quiet and are better than vehicles at getting into smaller spaces, such as alleyways and trails.

“We are super excited about this, especially with all these new officers,” Sgt. Brent McKinley said in a statement. “It’s going to be beneficial to the citizens. It’s important for us to be seen out and about and not just speeding by in a police car.”