The wonderful men of the Brooklyn Bike Patrol were recently honored at an appreciation dinner, hosted by Senator Eric Adams, for their contributions to the safety of our community. We caught up with Jay Ruiz, BBP President, to see how the bike patrol is doing today and what his future plans are for the group.
At the height of the sexual assaults that plagued South Slope/Sunset Park last summer, the bike patrol was assisting women in three neighborhoods: Park Slope, Windsor Terrace and Sunset Park. Today the group covers 17 neighborhoods and 56 subway stops.
“People were calling from Bushwick and asking when we were coming out there,” Jay told us. “I couldn’t turn a deaf ear.”
Although call volume dropped when the South Slope attacks quieted, the bike patrol has received a surprise bump recently from out-of-state parents sending their kids to colleges in Brooklyn.
“A lot of the students work late night jobs in restaurants for extra money,” said Jay. “One new client doesn’t get off the train on Saturday night until 4am. Parents like knowing someone is out their looking after their kids.”
Jay said that the patrol is always looking for new volunteers, but it’s important to understand a few basic details about the position. Nobody with a criminal record is allowed to join. Registration with the 72nd Precinct is required, as is a handwritten letter of recommendation. Applicants must additionally meet with Jay for a one-on-one interview and be willing to leave their own neighborhood at any time of the night to meet someone.
Jay also emphasized that, “this is not a dating game. All of my volunteers are gentlemen.”
Due to their overwhelming recognition within the community and beyond, some have begun to encourage the group to develop an official non-profit, but Jay remains undecided on that point.
“I love the support we’re getting,” he said. “I’m just not sure I want to take it that far.”
“This is a small town idea and it’s actually working in Brooklyn,” Jay said. “We may not be getting the volume that we were getting when we first started, but we’ve still got people calling us. As long as people are calling us, we’ll be there.”
We feel safer just knowing that you guys are around, Jay. Thank you.
For information on becoming a member of the Brooklyn Bike Patrol or to call for an escort, call Jay Ruiz at 718-744-7592.