Jeff Humphrey, Media Manager, 509.625.6308
Friday, August 6, 2021 at 11:32 a.m.
The Spokane Police Department is rolling out a new way to help its officers make downtown a safer place to work and visit.
“So this is a class three e-bike, meaning that it tops out at 28 miles per hour, and it is pedal assist. We have to be riding the bike, we actually have to be pedaling, for it to work,” explained Sgt. Craig Hamilton of the Spokane Police Department.
The pedal assist feature comes in handy in downtown Spokane where our streets slope downhill, all the way to the river.
The e-bikes can also step up police response to crimes in progress. Officer Dale Harvey recalls using his bike to reach a “person with a gun” call.
“Because we were riding those, we were able to respond in a quick amount of time and take the person into custody before anything worse happened,” Harvey said.
Officers on e-bikes can weave their way through alleys blocked by delivery trucks and rob crooks of their hard-to- find hiding spots.
“And a lot of times, we’ll just be riding through the trails around here and people say ‘hey,there’s something going on over here. Can you check this guy out,’” added Harvey.
The SPD e-bike patrols help fight crime, but also encourage engagement with the public.
“For whatever reason, the bikes seem to break down barriers and it seems like we’re much more approachable. Riding down through Riverfront Park is absolutely amazing.We can just ride through there, see people on skateboards, others bikes, and conversations are consistently struck up,” Hamilton said.
And those conversations put police and the public on the same crime-fighting page.
A couple visiting from Arizona hailed Sgt.Hamilton near the Rotary Fountain in Riverfront Park.
“When I first saw him, I thought it was wonderful and it made me feel safe. And,I think other people feel the same way,” said Alice Schweitzer.
Police say if you’re one of those people, reach out to our officers and help them, help all of us, keep downtown safer.