The Meyersdale Police Department has a new aspect to patrol duty. Officers Dustin Weir and Jeffery Brenneman took to the streets on bicycles for the first time Sunday.

The force implemented its bicycle patrol in conjunction with the borough’s Fourth of July celebration.

“I think it’s a good public-relations move,” said Bill Albright, Borough Council vice president.

“Meyersdale is a bicycle town. We have the (Allegheny Highlands) trail running right through town.”

Each bicycle being used by the police costs about $1,000. Together with the uniforms, it is costing $5,000 to $6,000 to equip the patrol, Albright said.

Other communities have found success with such units.

Officer Stephen Borosky, a member of Somerset’s bike patrol, said he is able to stop and talk more to members of the community while on a bike.

“And as far as the force, you’re able to come across a lot of things more quietly than in a car,” Borosky said.

“Plus, a police car has a lot of wear and tear, and a bike is pretty much maintenance-free.”

The Somerset bike patrol took to the streets 1998 and now has four members.

“The bike patrol is very effective, especially for any major event Uptown because you can maneuver through traffic better,” Borosky said.

Somerset Police Department will host a police cyclist program Aug. 7-11 that will teach bike maneuvers.

The program will be taught by the Municipal Police Officers Training Commission. Members of the Meyersdale department will attend along with those from many other departments.

“The program isn’t required to have a force,” Borosky said. “It’s more of a safety thing than anything.”

Albright said the new bike patrol received many compliments Sunday.

“I think the officers involved didn’t realize how hard it would be to ride a bicycle around for eight hours,” Albright said. “But the borough got many positive comments.”

The Meyersdale force has seven part-time officers, two of whom will be on bike patrol.

Since the death of Officer Rick Brown, the department has not had a full-time officer.

“We will probably hire an officer in the future,” Albright said.

“Contracts are being negotiated right now, so no moves are being taken.”

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