The Oakdale Bicycle Patrol was formed in 1993 by Officers Vernon Gladney and Lester Jenkins as a more effective way of patrolling during the Oakdale Chocolate Festival. The initial effort at the Chocolate Festival was so successful that the Bicycle Patrol was formalized and expanded to the Rodeo Parade and routine patrol.
There are several reasons for using bicycles for police work. Citizens say that officers on bicycles seem more approachable and children have a common tie with officers that are riding bicycles. Another advantage of bicycles are that they allow the officer to travel quietly and often unnoticed in places where cars can’t go, such as parks, apartment complexes, and railroad right of ways. A patrol bicycle cost about 1/18 the cost of a patrol car, they provide good exercise for the officer, and they don’t pollute.
We currently have four officers that are trained and qualified as Bicycle Patrol members. All members fulfill their bicycle duties on a part-time basis. Your best chance to see a bicycle officer in action would be at the Rodeo Parade, the Chocolate Festival or during night time when they are riding the streets in search of criminals.