KPD bike officers ask for public's help to increase safety on tr

KPD bike officers ask for public's help to increase safety on trails

Posted:
There are nine KPD bike officers patrolling 130 miles of greenways and park trails. There are nine KPD bike officers patrolling 130 miles of greenways and park trails.

By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -   In teams of two KPD's Neighborhood Bike Officers patrol Knoxville's greenways two wheels at a time.

After three recent incidents on walking trails in Knoxville, 6 News is taking a closer look at how these greenways and parks are patrolled.

In a Tuesday afternoon press conference, KPD said they questioned a person in Monday night's incident on Jean Teague Greenway in West Hills, but have made no arrest.

They believe the other two attacks, a groping on the Third Creek Greenway near UT's campus and a sexual assault at Ijams Nature Center are not connected.

There are nine KPD bike officers patrolling 130 miles of greenways and park trails.

"We're not doing anything different from other patrols except we're on a bike and we're in an area that car doesn't get, looking for anything that's obviously criminal in nature, folks violating the law," explained Sgt. Sammy Schaeffer.

Badges visible and helmets in place, the neighborhood bike officers have a lot of ground to cover.

"You try to look at crime patterns, you look at trends, and try to deploy your men effectively," he explained.

To get an idea of what these officers look for on the trails,  we attached a special camera to Sgt. Schaeffer's bike. 

"We're watching for folks that are suspicious to us, that we can tell from knowing the area, knowing the type of people that frequent it, if somebody doesn't belong," he said.

Parks close at dusk and these officers know that's when suspicious activity can occur.

"Of course after hours when the crowd dies down, those that don't want to be seen they may tend to come back in and so were there to make sure they don't come back in," Sgt. Schaeffer said.

But with nine officers covering 130 miles, they're asking the public to be extra aware.

"We encourage the community to watch out for each other, just like we do," he said. Advising runners to always keep an eye out for suspicious activity, always run with only one headphone in and carry your cell phone with you if you can.

Bike officers are not the only ones keeping an eye on the trails. Patrol cars will watch out for greenways close to the road and where appropriate, motorcycle cops will patrol some paths. KPD also said other districts are helping out.

According to KPD the majority of citations written are for minor violations. In the last year 232 citations were written, three DUI arrests were made, 66 misdemeanor arrests made and 12 felony arrests made.

KPD is calling the trio of recent incidents rare and Sgt. Schaeffer hopes their presence will reassure the public the greenways are safe.

"There's not a greenway or park in Knoxville that I would not send my wife and children tonight and I can say that with all honesty."

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