Hundreds of experienced roller-bladers have been volunteering in Tel Aviv's Civil Guard for a number of years, patrolling the city during the late evening hours. Now the police have decided to enlist some of these enthused volunteers to the first rollerblade unit in Israel.
The unit is led by a number of community policing officers from the Lev Tel Aviv Station, and headed by Superintendent Shimon Biton. It aims to increase police presence on the streets in order to help civilians feel more secure.
The police examined 300 applicants for the unit, of which 30 were chosen. They then underwent special training by the Civil Guard. Police say members of the unit have the ability to maneuver quickly through crowded urban territory and can be used to strengthen public morale.
Commander of Lev Tel Aviv, Chief-Superintendent Danny Levy, said Israel was following in the footsteps of many European countries. "France even has a unit comprised of regular officers," Levy said.
"When we established the unit we though about how it would help us, and this is mainly in providing a sense of security. You see 20-30 people moving in one line – it's very impressive."
Levy doesn't think of the unit as a gimmick. "They are very quick on all types of terrain, even on sand, grass, or stairs they are quicker than a policeman on foot," he said.
"But this is also an addition of dozens of eyes helping the police on the streets. They are meant to be present mostly at crowded locations, trains, malls, hospitals, and the boardwalk."