The bike patrol has new wheels for the first time in years, thanks to Amherst’s biggest fraternal and veterans organizations.
Ptl. Jason Nahm and Sgt. Jacob Perez of the Amherst police department put hundreds of miles each summer on their bicycles, sweeping parks, working crowd control at festivals and parties, and keeping a watch on quiet neighborhoods.
They were recently gifted three brand new rides — valued at $1,450 each — by the Amherst Eagles, American Legion Post 118, and VFW Post 1662.
The new models replace two bicycles dating back to the start of the patrol in 1996 and a third donated a decade ago.
They come with flashing lights and suspensions that flip from on-road to off-road mode. They’re also a bit lighter than previous bikes.
Decked out in uniform shorts and reflective shirts, Perez and Nahm try to ride every day, up to 15 miles on a shift.
It’s a valuable way to be out among residents, said Perez: “The kids really love seeing us out there. They get excited. ‘Look, the police are on bikes like us!’”
The bike patrol hands out “citations” to kids spotted wearing their helmets and riding responsibly, which puts them in a drawing to win a free bike from AAA.
Nahm has been riding on duty since 2012.
For Perez it’s been much longer — on his first day on the bike back in June 2000, he nabbed Dustin Hall of South Amherst, who was fleeing Dairy Mart on Cleveland Avenue. Hall pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery and was sentenced to three years in prison.
You can see the new police bikes Saturday at Dancing on Main Street, where both Perez and Nahm will be on duty.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter