July 11, 2018

UCalgary security bike unit first non-law enforcement unit to receive elite training

How bikes are making Campus Security faster and friendlier

Three seasons a year for the last 27 years, Campus Security workers pedal their way through the University of Calgary's bustling pathways and roadways, ensuring the safety of students, faculty, staff and visitors. This year, UCalgary’s dynamic Campus Security bike unit became the first non-police organization to be accepted into the Law Enforcement Bicycle Association’s (LEBA) elite instructor training program.

“This training is a huge point of pride for the university,” says Rick Gysen, director of campus security. “The fact that Campus Security was identified to be of the calibre for LEBA training means they see our staff as being on par with the Calgary Police Service riders.”

Since taking the LEBA instructor training in May in Colorado, Campus Security workers Tesha Lingren and Jean Beaudoin are certified to lead LEBA training for their colleagues, right here on campus. Above, Beaudoin, left, and Lingren are the first non-police officers to be certified LEBA instructors, which has major benefits for the University of Calgary.

“It was the hardest training I’ve ever done in my life, but it was a proud moment when we got our certificates at the end,” says Lingren, who has been a security worker for 23 years and with UCalgary for 10 years. “If you want to be the best, you have to train with the best.”

CPS and Campus Security working together

LEBA training for a non-police bike unit is unprecedented — thankfully, Campus Security has a great reputation and friends on the force.

“LEBA doesn’t train instructors unless they are sworn law enforcement, so we thought it was a lost cause,” Lingren says. “We asked a Calgary police officer who we’ve worked with before to vouch for us — then the dream became reality.”

Lingren says the main benefit of the instructor training is the ability to train and re-certify cycling security workers in real time and in the right environment.

“An in-house model of training gives us greater flexibility — we can re-certify every year without leaving campus and really perfect our skills in the same environment that we’ll use them.”

Campus Security's Jean Beaudoin, left, and Tesha Lingren are the first non-police officers to be certified Law Enforcement Bicycle Association instructors, which has major benefits for the University of Calgary.

Campus Security's Jean Beaudoin, left, and Tesha Lingren.

Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

Cycling connects communities

Riding provides welcome exercise and fresh air to cycling security workers, but Gysen says the real benefit is the community connection made possible by having security so visible on the ground.

“Cycling is an ideal platform for Campus Security,” Gysen says. “People on campus say it’s easier to approach us, and it’s a great talking point when getting to know the community.”

Lingren says cycling is her favourite part of the job and instrumental to her role as a community liaison. “It’s not uncommon for me to ride my bike slowly for five minutes and chat with someone about the weather. Community relations is huge for us.”

The other key benefit is just sheer efficiency — bikes get security where they need to go faster than walking or even driving. “Our team can get anywhere on campus in less than three minutes,” Lingren says. “We are typically first to arrive before people on foot or mobile units. The bikes make us better.”

Gysen says Campus Security is working on making the bike units a year-round staple so even in the winter, the campus community can reap the benefits of cycling security.