A single line of police officers in uniform on bicycles drew the attention of Ripon motorists who reacted with honks and waves as the trio followed their instructor from Southern California down Main Street into the city’s central business section.
Patrolmen Leroy Sanchez, Mario Ysit and McGinnis – also a school resource officer – were taking an advanced patrol bicycle training session that went on for more than 10 hours. It took them to Mistlin Sports Park where they met challenges from the baseball and new softball fields to being taught how to take down a suspect from the seat of their 10-speed police bikes. They also took a ride through the area of the bike bridge over the Stanislaus River.
Instructor Aaron Roesler from the Southland community of Covina said he couldn’t believe the positive reactions from the motoring public and those walking on the streets to the small police bike caravan. He said he was pleasantly shocked by the friendly atmosphere that Ripon presented to the officers, quite unlike the big city atmosphere.
Bicycle mounted officers have been previously assigned to the streets for the Almond Festival and for Main Street Days to better mix with the Ripon residents, yet be able to move swiftly should they get a call for service blocks away. Officers also make use of the bicycles on the annual National Night Out event.
During the course of their ride on Saturday, they detoured to the sandwich eating contest at the new Togo’s Restaurant on Colony Road between police and firefighters. They drew a spirited applause when they road up to the small crowd where one of their riders took part in downing a sandwich.
Officers said that now they have completed their advance training, they may be getting new assignments in the community from First Sergeant Steve Merchant and Police Chief Ed Ormonde. The department owns four bikes for special activity use. The department has urged its officers to get out into the community and talk with the citizens in their yards and get to know their needs first hand. With bicycles available that may be in the future of positive patrolling on their beats.