Safer parks and trails in Federal Way, thanks to motorbike patrols
By JACINDA HOWARD
Federal Way Mirror Reporter
September 4, 2009 · 1:05 PM
Federal Way police officers are using every resource they have to catch criminals in the city's parks and on its trails.
This summer brought the use of dual-sport motorcycle patrols. The vehicles are versatile — traveling on and off-road with ease. They add to the police department's commitment to consistently watch the city's parks and trails, especially during the warm months when the areas generally see more activity. The motor bikes have visibly decreased crime in popular summer locations, Cmdr. Kyle Sumpter said.
"I can tell you that they have been successful," Sumpter said. "The crime numbers are down where we use them."
The motorcycles are used in most of the city's large parks, such as Steel Lake Park and Celebration Park, as well as on trails, such as the BPA Trail and on beach fronts, Sumpter said. The majority of the time, the motorcycle officers are looking for suspicious or illegal activity. They respond to calls when needed.
"Mostly, it's proactive, looking for problems," Sumpter said.
The motor bikes are sleek, fast and easier to maneuver than the force's Harley Davidson motorcycles, which are used for some street patrols. The dual-sport bikes can go pretty much anywhere a bicycle can go, officer Shawn Swanson said. They effortlessly glide over curbs and around corners, he said.
"You can go anywhere in these," Swanson said.
One of the first times Swanson used a dual-sport to catch a criminal was on the BPA Trail, he said. Police received reports that a suspect was walking the trail, using a stun gun to give passersby a jolt. Swanson snuck up on the man and witnessed the suspect's unbelieving look when he realized police had arrived.
"I think some of these guys think it's no-man's land," Swanson said.
There is not a unit assigned to the dual-sport bikes. Rather, officers will jump on the vehicles when the sun and crowds are out, Sumpter said. All officers on the motor bikes are motorcycle endorsed, have completed an off-road course and are certified through the Federal Way Police Department, Swanson said.
The park and trail patrols will continue, but with decreased vigor as fall approaches, Sumpter said. School and the cooler weather keep large crowds away from Federal Way's parks and trails, Sumpter said.
"It's not going to continue with as much intensity as the summer," Sumpter said.
September will see school resource officers back on campuses. Previously, these officers had more time to use the motorcycles since their regular duties were on hold, Sumpter said.
Check it out
To view a short video on the duel-sport motorcycles, visit www.cityoffederalway.comContact Federal Way Mirror Reporter Jacinda Howard at firstname.lastname@example.org or (253) 925-5565 ext. 5052.