A part of Matthews will be at the Democratic National Convention.
The Matthews Police Department is sending Cpl. Grant Nelson and Officer Lance Paugh – and their bikes – to Uptown Charlotte for the event. The officers will use their bicycle patrol training to help with crowd control and patrolling Uptown streets. Both officers are members of the Special Weapons and Tactics team, or S.W.A.T., that merges Matthews officers with those from Mint Hill and Pineville.
Paugh says he’s excited to be involved.
“It’s something new. I’ve never done anything like it before,” he said. “It’s something new for everybody. To be involved in something this big is pretty exciting. It’s nice to be able to represent Matthews.”
“This is a once in a lifetime kind of thing,” he said. “I’m not a big person on politics, but this is a part of history. I think it’s going to be really fun. It’s going to be fun and demanding and stressful.”
The officers have received special training to participate alongside colleagues from Charlotte, Pineville, Greensboro and from large cities like Chicago.
The officers have been told to expect to work at least 12 hour days, with the potential for a 24-hour shift, and to sleep somewhere Uptown. Above all, they’ve been trained to “prepare for the worst and expect the best,” Nelson said.
“We’ll go there and do our role and hopefully we won’t have any really big issues or problems,” he said. “As bicycle officers we’re there to show a different type of presence in the area. We can get a lot of places that cars can’t and criminals are looking for a car, not a bicycle.”
Being on a bike has advantages over patrolling on foot, Nelson said.
“It’s a lot faster than foot patrol. We’re basically the first responders because we have more mobility,” he said. “We’ll be able to maneuver through crowded areas. Believe it or not, there are different things you can do to manage crowds on a bicycle.”
But Nelson said despite training to prepare for the worst-case scenario, which includes what to do if protestors turn violent, he’s optimistic for a memorable event.
“I just think it’s going to be an amazing experience,” he said.