This fall, The Episcopal School of Dallas became the first independent school in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to implement a bike patrol as part of the Campus Safety program. Not only does the added security feature make for a friendlier and more approachable staff, the bikes also give ESD’s Campus Safety Officers access to more remote areas of both campuses.
Last year, the ESD Campus Safety team met with outside security consultants to learn additional ways to protect the Merrell Road and Colgate Avenue campuses. Robert Monts, ESD’s Assistant Director of Campus Safety, explained the bikes are an incredible asset to his team in assuring every inch of the grounds are monitored, and if there is an emergency, especially in a hard-to-reach spot of campus, officers can be dispatched quicker.
Monts said the community has responded very favorably to the added security presence. However, the marked security vehicles will still be utilized during peak traffic times, including carpool, to ensure the safety of all community members.
“Part of our new policy dictates that no bicycle patrols will be fielded during adverse weather conditions, or at any time when the patrols may pose an unnecessary risk or detract from higher priority duties.”
To become a certified bike patrol, current ESD officers had to pass written and physical exams that included cardiovascular fitness tests, hypothermia and dehydration training, accident prevention, and different speed and balance drills.
“We were fortunate to have three Campus Safety Officers go through a three-day bike patrol training certification course specifically tailored for security and police,” Monts explained. “This training was administered by the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, who graciously allowed our officers to attend at no cost.”
Furthermore, according to Campus Safety Magazine, “students, faculty and staff are more likely to talk about legal matters, directions, parking information, or ask for information from a campus bicycle patrol officer.” Monts, and the other members of the Campus Safety Department hope these positive contacts will help reinforce efforts to affirm relationships between the community and the department.
“The numerous inherent advantages to uniformed bike patrols, including improved community relations, cost efficiency, faster response times, and added environmental benefits, are just some of the reasons we felt that putting Campus Safety Officers on bicycles was a great idea.”