Edison rolls out police bike patrol


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Staff Writer

EDISON — With the public’s call for more community policing in the fifth largest township in the state, the Edison Police Department is pedaling their way to answer that call.

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With asset forfeiture funds seized through arrests, Police Chief Thomas Bryan said the department was able to purchase four Trek hybrid police-edition patrol bikes, which he said are $1,000 each.

“The bikes will be equipped with lights and sirens and there will be two bikes out at all times,” he said.

Bryan joined Mayor Thomas Lankey, Deputy Chief Ronald Mieczkowski, Police Lt. Robert Dudash Jr., Officer Michael Schwartz, president of the Edison Police Benevolent Association Local 75, and others to announce the launch of the department’s new bicycle patrol on Oct. 14 across the street from the Edison Municipal Complex and police headquarters.

Police Officers Lisa Cimmino, a 13-year veteran of the force, Jennifer Aldahondo, an eight-year veteran, and Christopher Gadomski and Neel Patel, who both have been with the department for three years, were chosen for the department’s new bicycle patrol.

“These officers were recommended through their supervisors,” said Bryan, who added that the officers went through specialized training for the patrol and the bikes were outfitted to fit their size through Joyful Cycle & Fitness in the township.

The chief said many officers were interested in the patrol.

“We felt the patrol should reflect the citizens of the community,” he said. “We have two female officers and Officer Patel will represent our large Asian-Indian community.”

Bryan noted that all four officers are avid cyclists and Officers Cimmino and Aldahondo have ridden in the annual Police Unity Tour, which is a fundraising bicycle ride from New Jersey to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Bryan said the officers will be out in the community, speaking to people at community events and more.

“The bikes enable us to move around rapidly, which includes patrols in the Middlesex County Greenway [which runs through Edison, Metuchen and Woodbridge] and through the [Menlo Park] mall,” he said.

Bryan said the bicycle patrol was an initiative years ago, however, it fell to the wayside as time went on through different administrations.

“At one time we were 215 officers strong and through retirements and attrition we were as low as 153 officers,” he said. “Now through the support of Mayor Thomas Lankey and his administration, we have hired 42 new officers in two years. Now we have 177 officers.”

Patel said he feels the new bicycle patrol will bring the community closer to the department.

“When I see them in my patrol car, people are afraid of coming up to us and trying to talk to us, thinking maybe we are doing something, but when you are on a bicycle, [people] on the street, in a car on the Greenway, I feel people have a better approach to it,” he said. “We are just here to help, if you have questions, you can always approach us on our bikes.”

Lankey said he is proud of the new initiative.

“These officers go out every day and are not sure what they face,” he said.

The mayor noted a thin blue line that was added to the roadway in and around the municipal complex, which he said shows their continued appreciation for blue lives.

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