Bike cops return to downtown, push for safer Town Square Park
A small group of Anchorage police officers are trading in their posts as school resource officers for positions as bike cops. Between late-May and mid-August, 15 officers patrol the downtown area on bicycles.
“By far the best gig at APD,” said Doug Fifer, a 20-year veteran of APD who has been with the program since it started 4 years ago. He said because the officers average at least 50 miles a day on their bikes, getting back in shape can be a challenge.
“[For] the first couple weeks, it’s kind of tough to get your bike legs back,” said Fifer.
One of the biggest tasks Fifer and his colleagues face is handling issues in Town Square Park. This year, that effort is more important than ever, with Mayor Ethan Berkowitz calling for public safety improvements to the park.
“The park is for everybody to enjoy, so we want it to be safe,” said Fifer.
Bike cops are armed just like other APD officers and regularly make arrests, according to Fifer.
“We arrested a gentleman for methamphetamine a week ago right here in Town Square,” he said.
Part of the officers’ routine is checking in with the many local businesses downtown. With a record number of tourists expected this summer, the vendors appreciate the extra peace of mind.
“It adds an extra sense of security for our guests,” said Cyrus Aldeman, with Anchorage Trolley Tours.
Fifer said whether it’s for locals or tourists, his goal is to make Anchorage a more welcoming place.
“The city is for everybody and I want everybody to be able to use it,” said Fifer.
The officers patrol between 6:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on weekdays. They are based downtown, but can respond to calls throughout the city.
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