ROCKFORD -- For Mike Jury, summer means a chance to try out a different set of wheels.
Jury of Machesney Park is one of 16 Rockford police officers -- out of more than 250 -- on the department's M3 unit, in which officers spend the warmer months patrolling Rockford on bicycles.
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"I love getting out of the squad car," Jury said. "We still have to answer calls in a specific area, but we have more time to talk to people."
The unit works different areas, moving as far from downtown as the Broadway corridor and working weekly at Rockford City Market on Water Street. By Alex Gary. Rockford Register Star.
It's a difficult gig to get.
"You have to be on the force for five years and about 30 people put in for it the same time I did," said the 29-year-old Jury, who has been with the Rockford department for nearly seven years. "They only accepted six."
This is Jury's second year on the M3 unit. The first one literally was a trial by fire in last summer's scorching weather.
"Last year on the Fourth of July, it was over 100 degrees and we were on our bikes for 10 hours," Jury said. "That ... was pretty bad, but normally the weather is pretty nice, and I love to be outside."