By Chris Quintana
The Santa Fe New Mexican
SANTA FE — Santa Fe police Officer Jeff Worth treats his bike like a patrol car, and there’s no reason he shouldn’t. His Kona 27-speed mountain bike is equipped with a siren, flashing lights and an emergency kit. And his authority is the same. The charge for fleeing an officer is the same whether he’s on a bike or in a car.
While he certainly is not getting in high-speed chases or rushing across town, Worth said that, as a bike officer, people are more willing to approach him, and that helps cut down on crime.
“If you take care of the little things, then the big things won’t happen,” he said.
Worth is one of two full-time bicycle officers in the Santa Fe Police Department. He and fellow bike Officer Mike Lowe, with the aid of Pat Hernandez from the Albuquerque Police Department, have been training 11 new bicycle officers, two of whom will serve as full-time bike officers. Worth estimated the department has about 20 bike-trained officers already.
That request for more officers comes from Chief Ray Rael, who said he’s a big supporter of the program because “it’s an extremely useful way to increase our presence in troubled neighborhoods.”