“We are lucky to have such a flourishing park and trail system, and we want to make sure our officers are fully capable of giving those areas the attention they deserve in terms of safety and community engagement,” said Public Information Officer Lieutenant Drake Sterling.
Officers and Equipment
Presently, about 15 officers with ZPD are active on the bike patrol unit and that number is expected to grow. ZPD is currently outfitted with nine patrol bicycles. Five bicycles in the fleet are e-bikes powered by rechargeable batteries. Officers can activate the pedal assistance at variable levels to aid in climbing hills, navigating tough terrain and traveling at higher speeds. The e-bikes have a battery life of 30-60 miles per charge and allow the bikes to travel as fast as 25 miles per hour. In addition to the electronic assistance these bikes provide, the patrol bikes are equipped with traditional red and blue emergency lights and a functioning siren. This allows these officers to perform routine duties including investigating traffic and parking infractions, answering calls for service and patrolling neighborhoods and parks.
“The e-bikes have proven to be an excellent purchase for the department,” said Lieutenant Bryan Sauer, the bike patrol unit supervisor. “Our officers are already carrying 20-30 pounds of extra weight in their duty gear. By using the pedal assist, it helps the officer’s endurance and ability to respond to needs that may come up.”
Each member of the bike patrol unit is issued a complete uniform consisting of high visibility shirts, bicycle shorts, lightweight nylon duty belts and a helmet. Bike patrol unit officers must attend a yearly eight-hour training course on braking, evasive maneuvers, dismounts, stair riding and other skills.
Health, Safety and Community
Outside of their regular duties on the streets, parks and trails, the bike patrol unit often patrols special events including Fall Festival and Zionsville Lions Club Fourth of July Celebration. During these events, officers are able to maneuver through crowded pedestrian traffic with ease.
The impact of the patrol unit is apparent: enhanced community connectedness and safety as well as physical health of the officers. The bike patrol unit is yet another essential program geared toward delivering the best possible service to the community.