Donaldsonville's newest bike patrol aims to prevent crimes

Darian Graivshark
Ascension Parish deputies on bike patrol.

All great ideas start off as something small, but eventually make a big impact on the communities surrounding them.

Recently, Donaldsonville began a bike patrol, and the deputies behind it are Deputy Sam Schexnaydre and Deputy Tyrus Cobb. Deputy Schexnaydre has been in the force for 6 years and was previously a part of the Army Reserve. Deputy Cobb has been with the force for 4 years and was previously a part of the National Guard. Both had an interest in beginning the patrol.

After putting together a powerpoint with some statistics, finances, and the benefits of adding a bike patrol to the department, they pitched the idea to Chief Deputy Bobby Webre, who fully supported the idea.

"Right now we have eight deputies on the bike patrol. Seven of them are already trained, but only one more needs to be. We partnered with Baton Rouge Police Department for the training because they are part of the International Police Mountain Bike Association," Chief Webre said.

The bikes that are used for the patrol are Trek Mountain Bikes. They come geared with a handy water cage on the frame of the bike and a rear rack to keep ticket books, extra parts, or other necessities. For night patrolling, deputies can use their bike headlights to see better while wearing their uniforms that have reflective pieces on them. This allows residents to see the deputies as they peddle by.

However, Patrols don't happen at random. The department will look at statistics and what areas may be a hot spot in the community to determine times they should go out on the bikes. Due to the high rate of car burglaries, the force is focusing on the night patrol in hopes to prevent them more.

The bike patrol has deployed six times since it has started. Their first deployment was for the Torch Run in May in order to help with crowd control. Bike patrol really put the pedal to the floor when car burglaries began in Pelican Point subdivision.

The deputies love the patrol because they get to be a part of the community and get to talk to many of the residents. When they are in subdivisions, kids love to see them.

"Some of the kids will even get on their bikes and follow the deputies around as they ride on theirs," Chief Deputy Webre said.

While it is a great way to be involved with the community, it is also a great way to prevent crime. So far, the bike patrol has made 3 drug related arrests since they began in May. They have also handled a few domestic disturbances and have made a drug/weapon possession arrest.

"This is a great way to show our community that we are continuously trying to better the city that we live in," Deputy Cobb said.

Chief Deputy Webre has had no problem with getting the patrol started. "Many of Deputies on the force want to join," he said. We haven't had to do any recruiting for it because the interest is so high. We get the most successful ideas from deputies who want to do something, though, because of their enthusiasm."

"When we first began the patrol, we set criteria for joining it," Deputy Schexnaydre said. "Then, we got people who were interested on the force to fill out an application. We had way more than eight people who were interested, but we chose who we thought would be the best candidates."

Not only is the bike patrol an effective way to create a better Donaldsonville, but a great way to save money. Compared to a police car that can be priced at over $25,000, the bikes use much less money. Each bike costs around $1,100 after all of the gear is added on, with about $200 for two pairs of uniforms for each Deputy. This saves about $20,000 dollars that can be used to help improve other areas of the community and the force.

Follow Darian on Twitter: @dariangshark