Release Date: June 27, 2012
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Fifty law enforcement officers and police officers will compete Thursday night at the University at Buffalo in an outdoor obstacle-course competition testing their ability to shoot their weapons, tackle suspects, handcuff prisoners and avoid playground equipment, all while riding bicycles.
The obstacle-course competition -- scheduled for 5-6:45 p.m. on the Special Events Field adjacent to the Student Union on UB's North Campus -- is the first event of its kind following 10 years of the State University Police Department's Police Bike Patrol Course held each year at UB.
"It's both a charity competition and a 10-year reunion of sorts," says Chris J. Bartolomei, UB assistant chief of police. "All proceeds from ticket sales and prize raffles will be donated to Western New York Concerns of Police Survivors (WNYCOPS), an organization that assists the families of police officers killed in the line of duty."
Hundreds of officers -- from federal agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Border Patrol, to local law enforcement agencies such as state troopers and sheriff's deputies, along with SUNY police officers -- have taken the 40-hour Police Bike Patrol Course since UB began offering the program in 2003. The training course is designed to teach officers the skills needed to perform a full range of police duties while riding a bicycle.
This year's special obstacle-course competition is an attempt to recognize the accomplishments of the officers who have completed the training, as well as doing what Bartolomei called "something special."
The competition will test officers' skills -- including basic bike-handling, negotiating urban obstacles such as teeter-totters, shooting techniques with paintball-like "simmunition," high-speed dismounts, suspect apprehension techniques such as tackling and other action law enforcement activities -- all done using bicycles as basic transportation.
"Year after year, we have tried our best to make this program the best training experience possible," says Bartolomei. "Now we're looking forward to marking this milestone with a memorable event in support of a worthy cause."
Immediately following the race, competitors and spectators will enjoy a pig roast prepared by the Buffalo Meatheads BBQ Team, live music provided by Wheelhouse and raffle prizes donated by Handlebars Cycle Company and Blue Line Bicycle Repair.
"The Police Bike Patrol Course has become so popular over the years that we have had to turn people away in order to keep our class sizes manageable," says Bartolomei. Officers who complete the training often look for a way to come back and frequently request advanced courses or refresher training, he said.
"Up until now, putting on the basic course has been enough for us to handle," says Bartolomei. "But we couldn't let our 10th year go by without doing something special."
Media interested in attending should contact Charles Anzalone in UB's Office of Communication at 716-645-4600. Media parking is available along Putnam Way near the Student Union.