SPD Officers Test E-Bikes

Spokane Police Officers test E-bikes while patrolling downtown Spokane.

Julie Humphreys, 509.625.5868

Friday, January 29, 2021 at 11:37 a.m.

Spokane Police Officers test E-bikes while patrolling downtown Spokane.

Recently, Spokane Police officers working out of the Downtown Precinct (DTP) were able to test and evaluate E-bikes for patrol. Bulls Bikes graciously loaned several Sentinel E-bikes to the department for our officers to experience the benefits over a traditional pedal powered mountain bike. Immediately officers realized the impact these bikes had on response times, their lack of fatigue and overall E-bike performance benefit. The bikes are pedal assist and do not have a throttle. They are plugged into a standard outlet to recharge.

This month SPD added four officers to work out of the DTP with an emphasis on increased presence and crime prevention. Bicycle patrol is a great way to increase presence and visibility while adding an enhanced method of reducing and preventing crime.  With the level of traffic and foot congestion in the downtown core, maneuvering in a car can be challenging for those calls requiring a quick response.  The E-bikes provide the ability to utilize more methods for police response, while also increasing the ability for our officers to interact with the public.

Officers have found the E-bikes allow them to respond to calls for assistance at speeds up to 28 mph while patrolling in the downtown business district, Riverfront Park, the Centennial Trail, the University District and Browne’s Addition. Officers on these bikes arrive on scene without exhaustion which benefits both them and the community. E-bikes can replace their patrol cars for nearly nine months of the year meaning less use of patrol cars.

On January 20, 2021, DTP bike officers were assisting on a call in the area of 1400 W. 2nd Avenue when a report came in of a person being pistol whipped and having a firearm pointed at them in the area of 1000 W. 1st Avenue. The bike officers responded and were able to arrive on scene right after the first patrol officer. Body-worn-camera footage of their response can be seen here

During this month long test phase officer feedback regarding the use of E-bikes and their benefit to the community was very positive. Not only do the E-bikes reduce carbon pollution, they also allow SPD to increase officer visibility in the downtown area while providing excellent police service. The City of Spokane is currently evaluating fleet needs in a number of departments and at this time there is no plan to purchase the E-bikes.

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Julie Humphreys