The Gallatin Police Department has several officers who serve as Bicycle Officers. Often referred to as "bike cops," these officers often patrol the streets of Gallatin on Trek mountain bikes. Be it eight o'clock in the morning or eleven at night, bike officers can be seen on city streets and in the neighborhoods working with residents and business owners.
Approximately eight officers currently serve as bicycle officers in Gallatin. Not only do the officers conduct regular patrols on city streets, they often provide escorts of parades through town and patrol at special events. Bicycles allow officers to move through crowds more quickly and easily than a patrol officer in a car or even on foot. Bicycles also give officers an occasional "stealth" advantage: when responding to some calls for service, suspects often do not see officers responding on bicycles.
Bicycle officers are also seen as more accessible in the community. All too often, bicycle officers will be approached by people in neighborhoods as the officers are on patrol. Consequently, these encounters with area residents can provide the officers with a wealth of information regarding illegal activity in their communities, thereby giving the officers more opportunities to reduce crime in neighborhoods.
In order to become a bicycle officer, applying officers must demonstrate that they are physically and mentally fit to perform the requirements necessary to ride a bicycle and serve as a police officer. Even though an officer may be mentally fit to ride a bicycle, if the officer does not have the physical endurance to ride through a neighborhood and intervene effectively in dangerous situations, the officer is not qualified to become a bicycle officer. Often, this evaluation can be made effectively when the applying officer attends a certification course to become a bicycle officer.
Bicycle officers in Gallatin receive certification to ride bicycles as police officers through the International Police Mountain Bike Association (IPMBA - pronounced "eye-pim-bah"). During the certification seminars, officers ride their bicycles and learn how to properly handle their bicycles in a wide variety of settings: from riding down a set of steps to properly riding up and down hills. Upon successful completion of an actual road course, which involves the officer executing difficult maneuvers involving the bicycle, as well as a written examination, the officer receives certification as a police bicyclist by IPMBA.