By: Brian Neale , KXLY, September 6, 2018
Photo Courtesy: Fresh Air E-Bikes
SPIRIT LAKE, Idaho - The Spirit Lake Police Department found a new way to patrol the town during crowded summer events.
The department teamed up with Fresh Air E-Bikes, a Spirit Lake-based e-bike dealer, to put officers on loaner bikes instead of inside patrol cars.
During summer events people pour into the town creating congestion that makes it very difficult to get around.
The department discovered during the 4th of July parade that the bikes allow officers to quickly move through the crowds during an emergency.
“The police vehicle in the parade lineup was trying to turn around,” said Spirit Lake Police Chief Dennis Sanchez.
Before the patrol car could even get turned around the bicycle officers arrived at the scene, even beating medical crews.
Officers who used the bikes said they enjoyed being outside and the ability to better interact with the community.
Fresh Air E-Bikes owner Marc Kroetch said e-bikes have advantages over traditional bike, horse or motorcycle patrols: Officers don’t have to expend as much energy thanks to the power-assist, there are savings in labor and cost associated with livestock, and e-bikes are quieter and more approachable than a motorcycle.
“What we’ve learned since we implemented these tools is, without a doubt, we need to make these a permanent park of our department,” said Spirit Lake Police Chief Dennis Sanchez.