Bellingham’s police department is seeking funding for a new team of bicycle officers.
The department has applied for $20,000 in U.S. Department of Justice grant money to equip officers with bicycles, helmets and shoes. These items will outfit a new Bicycle Response Team that will be assigned to crowd control for big events such as Ski to Sea in May and Northwest Tune-Up in July.
The new team would not be part of regular beats in downtown locations — the department still has no timeline for resuming bike patrols.
“Having a team of mobile officers who are trained in crowd control would have a huge impact on these events by being able to respond more quickly to concerning areas,” the city’s grant application states.
Police Chief Rebecca Mertzig said she hopes to have the bicycle team in place by summer 2024.
Bellingham police are seeking another $12,432 from the grant, to pay for software called PowerEngage that will enable those who interact with the police to provide feedback via a text survey.
The public will have a chance to comment on the grant at a public hearing before the Bellingham City Council at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 11 at city hall, 210 Lottie St.