DELAWARE, OH (WCMH) — Police officers from 35 states are training on bikes in the city of Delaware on large crowd management.
The bicycle officers are learning techniques on how a bike can be used as a nonviolent tool or barricade when combating or moving a crowd.
The idea is bikes move quicker through large crowds and marches and can then used in unison to move crowds or corral them safely.
Three to four hundred police officers and observers have been going through an intense three-day-course in crowd management and control and how to do it instinctively, no matter what city or state they are in.
“When I have a group that comes from Ohio that supports my team in Texas, we all know the commands to move, the commands to do different maneuvers,” said Bobby Sellers, an instructor with the International Police Mountain Bike Association and a Texas police officer.
He said officers on bicycles can quickly form a moving barricade using short, quick commands, which can be used anywhere large crowds gather.
“These barricades can be modified and put up on the fly, and get back into service and go deal with something else,” said Officer Sellers.
In the scenarios held at the Delaware County Fairgrounds, 40 to 50 local role players including some in zombie makeup and costumes, did their best to intimidate the bike officers.
“I need to get through there,” yelled a woman in the crowd who was trying to bypass officers, while others pounded on a nearby building trying to get inside.
Sgt. Jean-Jacques Pelletier with the Montreal, Quebec police said they have similar needs for bike training and mounted officers too.
“We use our bike team for crowd management and crowd control, even during some more violent protests,” Pelletier said.
Sellers said the idea in these training scenarios is to train bike officers to work with large crowds or marches and respond quickly if anyone is instigating the crowd to violate the law. “We can usually quell problems before they get out of hand,” he said.