DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — The patrolmen, dressed in navy cargo shorts and blue polo shirts with “Police” printed on the back, slow their bikes down as they arrive in front of the crowded entrance of the Exchange. They secure their bikes and remove their helmets as they prepare to patrol the area when they’re stopped twice by pedestrians before they make it inside of the building.
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgts. Damien Lyn and Johnny Nunnes, 355th Security Forces Squadron base defense operations center controllers, are responsible for the 355th SFS bicycle patrol fleet.
“So far it’s been an absolutely great reaction from the public,” said Nunnes. “Most people are just curious as to the uniform so that initiates most of our conversations.”
The bicycle patrol fleet, a small group of three personnel, is a section within the squadron that allows the “defenders” not only more access to the base but more interaction with the D-M AFB community. The fleet is expected to grow in the future.
The patrolmen went through a variety of training to be able to maneuver throughout the installation and safely pursue a situation if needed.
Lyn was trained by the Tucson Police Department and participated in a five-day course. He learned how to ride up and down stairs, how to do slow rides to maneuver through crowds and how to tread walk to keep the bicycle still while keeping his balance.
“We were trained to know what to do to pursue someone from bike or on foot and not get (ourselves) hurt,” said Lyn.
Nunnes trained with the International Police Mountain Bike Association and participated in a rigorous course. For the graduation ride, Nunnes participated in a 50-mile course, down and back, while having to complete additional tasks. The training was based on riding through large groups of people, chasing down suspects if needed, dismounting the bike on a high-speed pursuit and then being able to draw a weapon safely.
Rather than spending their shift inside of a patrol car, an office or at the front gate, the patrolmen spend their shift riding through their designated areas and they also stop to interact with the base community members.
“After arming up, we check to see if our tires are flat from the goat heads from this lovely desert and we find our way to where there’s high population: the BX, the commissary, and once school lets out, we’ll start hitting up the playgrounds and (base) housing,” said Nunnes. “Anywhere that people can see us and they have concerns and can get our attention or to just maintain the public peace. To all the base community populous, feel free to come ask us questions. We’re here for you.”