The Boston Police Department’s recently reinstated citywide bike unit will be moving soon to new quarters in a garage off Freeport Street near Glovers Corner. “This is great for Fields Corner and Savin Hill,” Boston Police Department Captain Jack Danilecki, the BPD’s citywide night commander and supervisor of the bike unit, told the Reporter in an interview this week.
“There will be police going in and out responding to calls all across the city, but going through Dorchester, so no matter what, the neighborhood gets more visibility.”
Set to be located at 12 Linden St. within the next two months, the new headquarters will be equipped to deploy the team’s 32 officers to any incident across the city, weather permitting.
“We don’t stop in the winter. We have gear for that,” Danilecki said. The unit also has cruisers for use in the rain. The unit is currently operating out of the gang unit headquarters on Columbia Road.
The 51-year-old Danilecki, who grew up in the Adams-King streets neighborhood, wrote the initial proposal for the bike unit back in 2005 under then-police commissioner Kathleen O’Toole. Four years later, the unit was disbanded, like the mounted police team a victim of budget concerns. The unit was reinstated in March of this year by Mayor Martin Walsh and since then the work of its officers has been a boon to the department, said Danilecki, with groups of three to five officers biking through and responding to any incident in the city.
“They can immediately go to the area that needs it,” unlike cruisers that can get stuck in traffic, he said. “They’re also good at combating open-air drug activity, and reducing gun and gang violence.”
During this past summer,the bike unit seized five illegal guns carried on the city’s streets, which Danilecki, a 32-year-member of the police department, called “significant,” adding, “there is no better way to do community policing than on a bike.” The captain noted that the bike unit was one way Police Commissioner Bill Evans has sought to increase police visibility in neighborhoods. “The cruiser can sometimes be a barrier between people and the police.”
Because of its access to the community and the freedom the bikes provide, Danilecki said the unit is as sought-after as the department’s gang and drug teams. It even has a waiting list.
The unit’s mountain bikes are equipped with police lights, sirens, and backpacks. Officers, who volunteer for the unit and must be certified to ride, are totally focused on responding to incidents via bike,” said Danilecki. “The bikes are sleek and they’re silent. They can come out of nowhere and respond immediately. Plus, they’re a huge health benefit to the officers. It’s a win-win.”