Howard police launch Pathway Patrol Section

There will be an increase in police presence on bike paths and walking trails throughout Howard County.

The Howard County Police Department will launch its new Pathway Patrol Section on Aug. 10 with an increase in police presence on bike paths and walking trails throughout Howard County.

Comprised of seven officers on mountain bikes or new electric motorcycles, the pathway patrols will provide a year-round, highly visible police presence on pathways and in residential areas, the police said. The team will work to deter crime, address quality-of-life issues and allow officers to interact more directly with members of the community.

"Community policing is about interacting directly with our residents and visitors, and these officers will be able to do that every day," said Police Chief Gary Gardner said in a statement. "While we have not seen an increase in crime on our paths or trails, we want to grow and adapt as the county continues to grow."

Officers will also have maneuverability in areas not easily reached by police cruisers or that are too large to cover by foot. With Columbia having more than 90 miles of bike paths and, throughout the rest of the county, there are an additional 100 more.

"The goal of the Pathway Patrol Section will be to help create a strong sense of safety and security in these areas," Gardner said.

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