You may see Daytona Beach Police wheeling around your neighborhood on Tuesdays.
The police department began “Two Wheel Tuesdays” May 25 with command staff, including Chief Jakari Young, Deputy Chief Jennifer Whittet, Patrol Capt. Trisha Loomis and Officer Thomas Goble, mounting bicycles and riding around the Midtown area, stopping to speak to residents, business owners and anyone else they came across.
Similar to the Park, Walk & Talk initiative announced by Chief Young earlier this year, Two Wheel Tuesday is designed as a low-pressure way for officers and the community to engage with one another and share concerns face to face. Also, like Park, Walk & Talk, Two Wheel Tuesday will go city-wide, rotating around all neighborhoods on a regular basis. Members of DBPD’s Bicycle Unit and other approved patrol officers will be involved.
“It’s all about community engagement,” Chief Young said. “I think we’re more visible and a little more accessible when we’re out here either walking or on two wheels on bicycles. It’s good to be able to be in close contact with the community. I think it’s an outstanding idea. We already do our Park, Walk & Talks, which I think have been extremely successful. It’s just another way to get out here to engage with the community and also to get some exercise while we are out here at it. It is very refreshing for the members of the community.
“Just 15 minutes out on a bicycle. It’s all been positive,” he said. “People are slowing down, they are waving. I’ve been stopped several times saying ‘Chief, can I talk to you’ because they can actually see me. Sometimes just zooming by in the car, I’m not really accessible. But when I get out here on the bicycle (or walking around), I am accessible.”
He added the program will be citywide and include the boardwalk, One Daytona and apartment complexes. The goal is to cover the entire city on two wheels. Although it started on a Tuesday, other days may be utilized as well.
The concept was developed by Capt. Loomis, presenting the idea at a department strategic planning meeting. Chief Young embraced the idea and gave it the go-ahead.
So far, on the department’s Facebook page, 164 people have liked the idea. Barbara Belli Reilly posted, “Thank you! This is a good thing. We need to keep their presence on beachside.”
Anita Gallentine, another fan of the program, posted, “Would love to see you in Seabreeze/University neighborhood … thank you ... have lots of issues with vagrants and homeless …Glenview/Grandview/Wild Olive ...Thank you.”
The city already has police officers participating in the Park, Walk & Talk program, which kicked off in January where officers park their cars, get out and walk the streets and talk to members of the community. Two Wheel Tuesday adds an even greater spin to community policing.