The U.S. Department of State partnered with Jordan’s Public Security Directorate (PSD) to support a newly established police unit that places uniformed officers on bicycles, providing community friendly high-visibility security, overwatch, and maneuverable response in crowded vulnerable public locations, events, and tourist sites.
The Jordanian Tactical Bike Unit’s first patrols in early July 2021, at a soccer match, were reportedly well received, with members of the public taking pictures with the bicycle officer, supporting the bike unit on social media, and requesting patrols in other areas.
The initiative was supported by the U.S. Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program, which granted the bicycles, other equipment, and training. ATA is managed by the Diplomatic Security Service through the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) Training Directorate and receives funding and policy guidance from the Bureau of Counterterrorism (CT). ATA is the U.S. government’s premier counterterrorism training and equipment provider for foreign law enforcement agencies and a longtime partner with Jordan. This initiative aligns with the Department’s goal in Jordan to strengthen civilian security forces to coordinate and communicate effectively to execute counterterrorism operations and protect government and civilian targets against terrorist attacks.
The first 25 Jordanian unit members were assigned after extensive interviews and training in June by the PSD in Amman. The program includes support from the U.S. Embassy Regional Security Office as well as consultation with ATA program officials to share best practices with police bicycle programs in other countries. It was modeled after tactical bike police units in the United States and other nations, such as the New York City Police Department or the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department.
Security advisors with ATA recommended creating the Tactical Bike Unit after Jordan experienced several attacks at public venues. Bicycle police are widely used in urban areas in numerous countries, where officers can easily interact with the public while watching for any activities of concern. In addition, many bicycle manufacturers offer special police models that include rugged construction, racks for carrying law enforcement equipment, and flashing warning lights.
A Jordanian newspaper posted photos of the Tactical Bike Unit on its Facebook page on July 2 and received more than 1,300 “likes” and 95 percent positive comments. Based on initial reactions, Jordan’s PSD is exploring the possibility of expanding the program to include covering areas outside of Amman.
The ATA program, coordinated through the U.S. Embassy’s Regional Security Office, is a longtime partner with Jordan. Each year, hundreds of ATA partner nation law enforcement professionals from around the world train in Jordan at the Jordanian International Police Training Center (JIPTC) and newly established Jordanian Gendarmerie Training Academy (JGTA) outside of Amman.