Published 12:43 pm, Wednesday, April 11, 2018
EDWARDSVILLE – The Edwardsville Police Department is looking into the possibility of adding electronic motorcycles into its fleet.
As discussed at Monday’s Public Safety Committee meeting, the department is set to take part in an electronic motorcycle demonstration Thursday, April 12 at the public safety facility. Zero Motorcycles will be providing the motorcycle for the demonstration.
Edwardsville Police Chief Jay Keeven addressed committee members and said if the EPD likes the electronic motorcycle concept, it may be worth looking into later on.
“We have not (had motorcycles in our fleet before). Glen Carbon does have a couple of Harley Davidsons. I know Troy has a Harley Davidson in their fleet,” Keeven said. “I like motorcycles for patrol purposes. Case and point, we receive a lot of complains for running stop signs or speeding in a neighborhood. Quite frankly, in a three-block stretch of roadway, if you park a marked squad car, everybody sees you, so they address their driving behavior accordingly.”
“We also have red light runners in our community and it’s easy and certainly not safe to try to do a three-point turn with a squad car in an intersection that has five lanes of traffic going in each direction. Motorcycles are a little more agile for that type of use, although they do come with their own dangers. If you’re struck in a vehicle, you have the vehicle to protect you. The motorcycle, like a bicyclist, you do not,” he added.
With the electric motorcycles, the Zero Motorcycles website states that by going electric, the motorcycles won’t have a need to visit gas stations, has no need for oil, no exhaust, has a lighter weight than that of a normal motorbike, and several other benefits.
Keeven said if the department were to add electronic motorcycles to its fleet, it would require additional trainings for the officers that showed interest.
“If we do have officers that expressed an interest, there would be additional training required. I wouldn’t put an officer on a motorcycle unless we go through training. Now, the training that the Illinois State Police officers is not with electronic motorcycles. Some of the training that they do is bringing motorcycles up and down stairs, laying motorcycles down when you’re moving,” Keeven said. “It’s a hard course and not everybody passes…but I would still want our officers to go through that police motorcycle safety course.”
The electronic motorcycles, according to Keeven, would also have a cost savings when compared to the price of a standard police Harley Davidson bike.
“The electronic motorcycles are probably going to run you $15 – $16,000 fully equipped,” Keeven said. “I think a Harley Davidson police bike is…probably closer to $18 – $20,000. So an electronic motorcycle would probably be a little less expensive.”
Keeven told committee aldermen Will Krause and SJ Morrison that if the bikes were utilized by the EPD going forward, they’d likely be used for enforcement patrols both on the streets and on the bike trails. He also said the noise wouldn’t be significant with the motorcycles, unless officers were going over 30 miles per hour.
Aldermen were in favor of looking into the idea and Keeven said if the demonstration goes well, it is an option for the department to consider.
“It’s a great opportunity to at least see their product and have others see their product,” Keeven said. “If it’s the direction we want to go in the future here, it’s an option for us.”