The Bristol Police Department employs 40 sworn law enforcement personnel and 12 civilians to accomplish their mission.

The Patrol Division consists of 22 officers, excluding supervisors. The 22 officers assigned to patrol are assigned to 3 or 4 beats (depending on a few variables).

The minimum staffing for any given shift will be 3 officers and 1 sergeant. In addition, lieutenants are working during the week on various shifts. The maximum number of officers assigned will be 5 on patrol and 2 supervisors. On any given shift there can be 1 to 3 supervisors working, including the lieutenants.


There is a minimum of 3 beats and the possibility of 4 when there is adequate staff to cover the sections of town. When there is a 4th beat officers will divide beat 2 in half.

There will be 1 officer assigned to each beat, unless it is summertime where 2 additional officers are assigned on foot or bicycle in beat 2, to patrol the downtown area.

Bike Patrol

The Bristol Police Department Bicycle Patrol Unit began in 2001 when a majority of the full-time officers were trained in the vast array of maneuvers on a police mountain bike.

Officers on bicycles afford our department members the opportunity to communicate with our residents and tourists more frequently than when on patrol in a police car. When you see a Bristol Police Officer on bike patrol, do not hesitate to speak with him or her regarding any issue or question you may have.


The Bicycle Patrol is part of the Patrol Division and provides the Bristol Police Department with a community-oriented crime prevention tool.

During the summer months, bike officers concentrate patrol in the downtown and waterfront areas when these areas experience an increase in tourism to shops, restaurants and taverns. The Bicycle Patrol is responsible for the safety of the patrons who frequent these establishments and to keep the peace for those who reside in the surrounding area.

The Bicycle Patrol is instrumental in crowd control during the busy Fourth of July festivities. Due to the large volume of pedestrian and motor vehicle traffic during the weeks surrounding the Fourth of July, the Bicycle Patrol is increased and kept busy responding to calls where police cruisers have difficultly maneuvering.

Training & Instruction

In July 2005, Captain Brian C. Burke and Detective Adam Clifford attended the Police Cyclist Instructor Course at George Washington University in Washington, DC. This course was instructed by the International Police Mountain Bike Association (IPMBA).

Currently Sergeant Paul Medeiros and Patrolman Greg Silvia instruct the IPMBA 40-hour Police Cyclist Course yearly. Officers who are selected for the training must be highly motivated, in excellent physical condition and must successfully complete a comprehensive written and on-bike test. The course consists of riding up and down stairs, suspect takedowns, cone courses, basic bicycle maintenance and other aspects unique to that of a police bike officer.

Types of Arrests

Since the inception of the Bristol Police Bicycle Unit, bike officers have made arrests for narcotics violations, disorderly conduct, DUI, domestic violence, vandalism and assault. The Bicycle Patrol Unit strives to maintain a positive relationship between the Police Department and the community while ensuring that the quality of life for the Town’s residents is maintained.

Motorcycle Unit

The Bristol Police Department has a Motorcycle Unit that has been in existence for many years. The Motorcycle Unit is a unit within the Patrol Division. The Police Motorcycle has been used in police work since the early 1900s. It is said that police officers on motorcycles replaced police officers on horses. Until early 2000, a Police Officer with a valid motorcycle license was eligible to operate the police motorcycle.


In the year 2000 the Bristol Police Department purchased a 2000 FLHP-I Harley-Davidson, Police Edition, Road King. With the purchase of this highly engineered piece of equipment, along with a substantial growth in traffic, the training and operating procedures were revised. The present Bristol Police Departments Motor Officer is a Rhode Island Licensed Motorcycle operator. In addition he/she must complete a specialized police motor officer course, specifically designed for police motor officers. The course is a grueling two-week hands-on course, designed by Northwestern University in cooperation with the Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Company.

Currently Rhode Island has only two motorcycle instructors in the state; we are extremely fortunate to have Patrolman Gregory Silvia as an instructor for this course. Patrolman Silvia attended the Northwestern University Police Motorcycle Instructor Training Program in Weymouth, Massachusetts from April 10 – April 28, 2017. 

This course prepares instructor candidates to teach the Police Motorcycle Operator Training course. The first week familiarizes the student with set-up and instruction of basic practical exercises while the second and third weeks of Instructor Training overlap with the Police Motorcycle Operator course to give instructor candidates hands-on experience teaching students.

The Bristol Motorcycle unit is most notably been known as the very first unit leading the Bristol Fourth of July Parade. The Police motorcycle is capable of maintaining and patrolling an area similar to that of a patrol car. Many times the police motorcycle is able to patrol areas such as the waterfront boardwalk, the Town Common and the East Bay Bike path with little or no impact on the people utilizing and enjoying these areas.

The motor officer is a community-orientated arm of the Police Department, able to easily interact with Bristol residents and visitors. In addition to patrolling the streets and areas of Bristol, the motorcycle unit on many occasions, in fair and foul weather, acts as an ambassador, representing the Bristol Police Department and the Town of Bristol to other cities and towns in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts, assisting with events such as dignitary escorts, funeral escorts, and organized motorcycle events.


The Bristol Police Motorcycle Unit presently consists of 9 staff members, all of which are graduates of the Northwestern University Police Motor Officer course and are all motorcycle enthusiasts with years of riding experience.