VOLUNTEER PROPELS ENTERPRISE BIKE PATROL

April 24, 2001 12:00 am
ON PATROL: Gary Parraga is Enterprise's new volunteer bike cop. (The Observer/GARY FLETCHER).
ON PATROL: Gary Parraga is Enterprise's new volunteer bike cop. (The Observer/GARY FLETCHER).

By Gary Fletcher

Observer Staff Writer

ENTERPRISE The latest innovation of the Enterprise Police Department is bicycle patrolman Gary Parraga.

Parraga moved to Wallowa County a year ago after retiring from Chevron in California.

As a 27-year veteran reserve police officer, Parraga joined the reserve program at Enterprise.

This winter Parraga asked police chief Donavon Shaw about a bike patrol.

Shaw listened with interest about Parragas experience on bike patrol in Cotati, Calif.

I like the idea, Shaw said.

Parraga donated his mountain bike, and they were off and running or rather pedaling.

The city is pursuing a grant to purchase a regular police bicycle which is more durable.

Like the other unpaid Enterprise police reserves, Parraga donates his time.

My reserves help a lot, Shaw said, Theyre a big help to the department.

The bicycle patrol supplements the regular vehicle patrol. While Parraga volunteers his time on the bike, another officer patrols in a car.

The bike patrol serves as a good educational model for other bicyclists to see someone in an official capacity wearing a bicycle helmet and operating a bicycle in a safe and correct manner.

Bicycle patrols are quite common in larger departments such as La Grande, Portland and in coastal tourist communities like Seaside, and Lincoln City.

It is faster than a foot patrol, easy to get in and around the public, environmentally friendly and public friendly, Shaw said.

Shaw recently took advantage of another public friendly program by sending an officer to attend a session on tourism and policing.