In April 1994, the Northampton Police Department began working towards the formation of a bicycle patrol unit by asking for volunteers from the patrol force. A number of officers expressed their interest in this new program. At the same time, a fundraising campaign was initiated to purchase the bicycles and other necessary equipment. The response from the community was overwhelming. In a very short period of time, businesses, civic and fraternal organizations, and individuals donated in excess of $15,000.00. From its inception, the Bicycle Patrol Unit has proven to be a successful and positive method of patrol. The Unit has been utilized to augment the downtown foot patrol officer. An officer on a bike is perfect for this function, as it takes all the positive characteristics of foot patrol, such as interaction with the public, utilizing your senses in the detection of crimes and incidents, and adds an immeasurable amount of mobility. The objective of the Bicycle Patrol Unit is to provide a patrol unit in the downtown area that is highly mobile, yet openly accessible to the public. The use of a bicycle on patrol facilitates a more effective patrol of the business district, allows the officer the element of surprise in certain enforcement and tactical situations, and assists in the community relations role of the officer. Bicycle Officers generally patrol in the downtown area of the City and make routine checks of the city's bike paths. Bicycle Officers are also utilized to patrol special events such as parades, festivals and marches. All members of the Bicycle Unit are selected for this special assignment and attend a 3-day training course prior to working in this new capacity.