by Dave Noble, City News Editor
ELMHURST – Gushing over the latest statistics that show a sharp decrease in local crime over the last few months, Elmhurst Police Chief Michael Ruth told reporters Tuesday afternoon that the department’s “Summer Mobile Patrol Unit” – comprised of officers who ride on one of ten performance hybrid bicycles or drive a tricked-out electric golf cart purchased from River Forest Country Club two years ago – is responsible for bringing order and safety back to the city.
According to Ruth, the mobile patrol unit has been instrumental this summer in reducing the number of local bank robberies, shootings and carjackings while serving as a crime deterrent at historically-violent Elmhurst events like “Block to Block” and “Music at the Gazebo”.
“The officers who work the mobile unit are out on the streets and bike paths every day, preventing crime and ensuring the safety of our citizens,” said Ruth, noting that the unit’s capabilities go beyond crowd control. “They’re chasing leads, shaking down suspects, and rendezvousing with informants just like the rest of our officers.”
Despite its overall success, the Summer Mobile Patrol Unit has seen its share of unique challenges in crime prevention. The department was forced to cancel its “Mobile Unit Ride-Along” program in early June after several participants fell from the handlebars of police bicycles during routine neighborhood patrols, and public records reveal that the department has accrued more than $400 in Uber charges this summer transporting suspects back to the police station.
Chief Ruth believes that the unit will overcome its deficiencies and continue to succeed in preventing crime.
“We look forward to growing the unit even more,” said Ruth, who revealed that the department is finalizing a deal with an undisclosed traveling carnival for a pair of Percheron horses and eight unicycles to boost the Summer Mobile Patrol Unit in 2019. “Giving our officers a height advantage over crowds will allow them to observe a wider area.”