Anchorage police who work as school resource officers during the fall and winter get a new assignment in the summer. They hit the trails and streets of Anchorage patrolling from their bikes.

On a drizzly Tuesday, Officers Doug Fifer and Brian Burton spent part of their morning at Town Square Park. The space looks greener and cleaner since the bike patrols started making regular stops there.

Fifer says people have gotten the word that it's not okay to sleep in the square, and if they do, they're likely to get an early wake-up call from one of the cops on bikes.

Some of what Burton and Fifer do is meet and greet tourists downtown or answer questions from people who flag them down. There's a lot of "community policing," according to Fifer. He said that can help APD be more proactive in stopping crime.

Even though their work may change during the summer, the officers said connections they make during the school year can be very important.

Fifer pointed to two recent vandalism and arson cases at local elementary schools in Mountain View and Eagle River. He said they were able to make arrests quickly because the school's SROs recognized the young people involved or knew the right people to talk to. Fifer said they've even been called to help in murder cases where the suspects are juveniles.

There are 15 SROs who act as bike cops during the summer -- although only six or seven are actively patrolling, Fifer said, on a given day.

Their travels take them all over Anchorage. Fifer estimates they put in 30 to 50 miles on a typical day. He said officers will be patrolling on bikes until school starts on August 20.

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