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Bicycle Ban in Parks Curbs LAPD's Training

January 15, 2002

Re "Crackdown Halts Bike Officers' Training on Dirt Trails in City Parks," Jan. 9: As a member and a supervisor of the LAPD's bicycle training cadre, I must say that Christine Peters' "alarming example" is an embellished account of our training. [Peters lives on the eastern slope of Elysian Park.]

I attended bicycle training first as an officer in 1995 and then became an instructor and supervisor in 2000. I have never witnessed any unsafe training as a student or instructor. Quite the contrary, the training is probably the safest thing next to firearms training. The lead instructors are recognized throughout the country as experts who are called upon to teach other agencies, and safety is always the first and foremost concern.

When the classes travel through Elysian Park the dirt trails are pre-ridden to check for runners and other persons. If the ride is in an area that is the least bit hazardous, instructors are placed at points in the ride to assure the safety of the students and anyone else who may be in the area.

It's shameful that the training in our city has to be restricted and taken away. We train less frequently because of fewer classes and, when we do train, we are in the park at most 10 hours per month.

Sgt. Thomas A. Mason

LAPD West Valley Area

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It's OK that Peters hates mountain bikes. It's not OK when that bias interferes with reasonable public policy. Denying the LAPD and park police the opportunity to train in L.A. city parks is dogmatism clouding sound judgment. That bias also led to the blanket ban on mountain-bike recreation in our city parks.

Do Peters and others really think that there is no place in L.A. city parks for responsible mountain biking? Several of our larger parks have trails that are perfectly appropriate for this safe, fun, health-promoting activity.

Jim Hasenauer

Woodland Hills

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Only in L.A. would people complain about cops being in the park!

David Turner

Torrance

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