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Police Training: Kevin Manz Talks Mountain Bikes

Q+A  April 25 2011
 — By Nora Holloway
Police Training: Kevin Manz Talks Mountain Bikes

In an effort to go green and save a little green, some police departments are beginning to embrace the idea of bicycle cops. Where do these officers go for training? Easy — to agencies like Police Mountain Bike Training or PMBT.

Offering a broad scope of mountain bike training and maintenance instruction, PMBT offers a variety of courses to meet the individual needs of departments. The available instruction includes a two-day police mountain bike course, a three-day maintenance course, EMS and security courses, private training and private consulting regarding policy, procedure, maintenance, etc.

With over 25 years of experience, Kevin Manz, PMBT training coordinator, can talk (and instruct) some serious bike. “We offer a wide range of police mountain bike courses and demonstrate the skills necessary to maintain safe and confident cycling,” states Manz. “Participants will demonstrate a wide range of on-bike skills, along with a full day of classroom studies.”

With proper training, the departments’ liability and officer injuries will decrease states Manz.

“We believe we are going to make a difference in the way departments train their staff and develop long-lasting partnerships with agencies across the United States,” writes Manz on the PMBT website. “Departments will save thousands of dollars while getting officers into shape.”

Taking a moment away from the busy training season, Manz answered some questions about tactical gear, class topics and such. Read on to learn more.

Pictured is a female officer during the PMBT course.

To instruct at Police Mountain Bike Training, you must have a pretty extensive background in mountain biking. What is your experience in the field?

My experience goes back over 25 years, I was into BMX, Motocross, and then was hooked when started riding mountain bikes. I became a certified mechanic several years ago. I can also train the trainer, along with EMS certified. I’m also certified with NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Association) as a police mountain bike instructor.

Bike training for police officer is pretty specialized and not provided through by a ton of organizations. Is PMBT flooded with training requests throughout the year? Do you have a busy time?

PMBT is flooded with training request from agencies all around the USA, but the busiest time is spring through fall.

How many instructors are there? Do they have to undergo training or need specific credentials?

We have three  instructors currently, but adding additional 10 by this June.

What changes have been made to PMBT since 2000?

Changes are always being made from the time I started in 2000 until now. We are always having to adapt to the criminal mindset, so our tactics and stealth approaches change along with other skills.

Kevin Manz, PMBT training coordinator

I have trained over a thousand police, security and fire officers.

Typically, what king of gear do bike cops carry? What kind of apparel do they wear?

Gear for bike officers include lightweight tactical shorts and short sleeve shirts, which can be blue, red, yellow or gray. The officers prefer to wear web gear verses the traditional leather gear around the waist. Everything is lightweight for the most part. Helmets are standard across the USA along with eye protection.

Performing police tasks on a bike has to be very different from working out of a squad car. What areas are addressed in the courses?

Here are some of the topics they train on: hazards (surface and visual), nutrition, slow speed handling, community policing, traffic law, uniforms, bike nomenclature, maintenance, braking, night patrol, suspect approaches, contact and cover drills. Also, they use cones drills for slow speed and balance.

What is the student/instructor ratio for the course?

We try not to have more than a 10:1 ratio with students/instructor, but that can change if the department is paying for private training and have bigger demands.

What are the requirements for a student to pass the course?

All students must pass on bike skills 20 Approx. and in classroom written test at the end of their training.

PMBT is located in Amelia, Ohio but arrangements can be made for trainers to come to your agency via email.

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