FORT LEE, Va. (July 30, 2009) – The members of the Community Policing Unit may be easily identified cycling across the installation, but these officers do more than spin their wheels when it comes to serving Fort Lee.
The unit is responsible for many jobs across the installation to include policing in the housing community, conducting traffic control for runners during installation runs and running radar to catch speeders.
“Besides regular patrols with the Provost Marshal Office, we handle most of the community policing,” said Police Lead Sgt. Mike Ramsey, head of the community policing unit. “We make our presence known out in the community. If parents or any community members have any issues at all, no matter how big or small, we’ll try to get an answer for them or fix the problem, which can be anything from speeding to burglaries.”
Speeding is an issue that can regularly come up, and Ramsey said their unit runs radar from patrol vehicles and stationary radar from their bikes.
“If we get complaints about people speeding down certain roads, we’ll go out and sit on a corner and run radar to catch people breaking the law,” said Ramsey. “That’s just one of the things we do all of the time to keep speeding down in the housing area, and while we’re out there … anything else that falls into our hands, we handle it.”
Another aspect of the bike patrol is their efforts with SAFE Kids Worldwide, an organization that deals with children safety. Ramsey said the collaboration at Fort Lee is mostly dedicated toward child seat safety, although they do support other child safety events. They regularly hold car seat checks to ensure child seats are properly installed in vehicles.
The unit is comprised of Ramsey, Police Officer Miles Frampton and Sgt. Steve Sheets, from the 217th Military Police Detachment.
Frampton said he has served with the bike patrol since 2007, first as a military policeman, and later after he was hired as a Department of the Army civilian policeman. When he joined the unit, it was his love of riding mountain bikes that motivated him. Now, he said, that has changed.
“I still love riding mountain bikes, but it’s not really about riding anymore,” said Frampton. “After becoming involved with SAFE Kids, and participating in the car seat safety checks, it’s about being with the community and helping kids.”
Frampton said he can recall incidents on the installation that made an impact on him as part of the bike patrol. In one accident on post, a vehicle was overturned in Jackson Circle, and because the child safety seat was properly installed, an infant inside was dangling upside down in her seat perfectly safe when officers arrived on scene.
“That’s what makes it worth everything,” Frampton said. “When you know that because of what you did, a child’s life was saved.”
Ramsey echoed Frampton’s remarks and said the PMO leadership and the support they provide is instrumental in the success of the unit. He said they encourage them to continue the car seat checks on and off post and work community events year round to help put safety first.