PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — You may have seen the Portsmouth Sheriff’s Office Bike Unit patrolling the streets of the city over the last year. Now, they have a permanent home in Olde Towne.
They’re using it to connect with citizens and take back the community.
You’re used to seeing sheriff’s deputies on four wheels. For the last year, 13 of them have been on two.
Deputy Paul Bell, Bike Unit Squad Leader, said, “We’ve developed a really strong bike unit that is able to respond in all of downtown. We do routine patrols downtown, we’re able to assist with any type of situation that occurs. We also do a lot of events.”
Bell says the unit started in 2007, served for a few years, and then ended. In January 2018, Sheriff Michael Moore brought it back.
“It allows us to go places where a vehicle wouldn’t go. It’s also extremely stealth and tactical as far as our approach,” Bell said.
Over the last year, the 13 members of the bike unit, who are volunteers, put thousands of hours into helping the community.
Bell said, “We have a passion for what we do, we have a passion for interacting with the public, and being ambassadors for the city, as well as that sworn dedication to protect.”
Now, they finally have a space to call home. In February, a citizen donated space on High Street to the bike unit.They spent months, donating materials and time, to refurbish the space.
“We have a downtown gathering spot, we can pretty well centralize all of our equipment, we can centralize, especially when were doing events, we have a place, a bit of a respite where we can come in, gather our thoughts, develop our strategic plans and continue with our day,” Bell said.
City leaders dedicated the space earlier this week and it is now the official home of the bike unit.