Police e-bike gears up for community interaction: dates and data from Olmsted

OLMSTED FALLS, Ohio — It’s a bird. It’s an airplane. No, it’s just the latest vehicle from the Olmsted Township Police Department – the e-bike.

It may not be faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, capable of leaping tall buildings in a single bound, but it gets our bike patrol to the scene faster – and covers more ground – than a typical bike.

I hope the old Superman references put a smile on your face – or maybe a long groan – but the appearance of the e-bike in the community will “super-ize” the efforts of our Bike Patrol.

“We’ll be spending more time in the community and covering more ground since we won’t be as fatigued or fatigued from pedaling,” said Sgt. Leo Spagnola, bike patroller for seven years.

“It also makes us more accessible than a patrol car, where you have a door and a window between you and a person.”

Stairs are no problem with the e-bike, as Olmsted Township Police Sgt. Leo Spagnola. (Joanne Berger DuMound, special for cleveland.com)

Chief Constable Mark Adam was instrumental in bringing an electric bike to the department. He has seen the benefits in the five communities in the area that have them — Avon, which has two; Lake Sheffield; Bedford Heights; Southern Euclid; and East Cleveland, with seven.

He chose the Power Bike Recon “Interceptor” over others because of its military and law enforcement use and solid reputation. The Green Energy Bike’s 48-volt lithium-ion battery powers a 1,000-watt mid-drive motor. It can reach 30 mph with the battery requiring a charge approximately every 50 miles.

That means he’ll probably see loads, which take a few hours, once a week. The ATV is equipped with puncture-proof tires and a multi-color LCD light display.

“I think it’s the best on the market, especially for law enforcement,” Adam said. “I got it up to 26-27mph on Cook Road. It’s incredible. It’s so fast.

Three police personnel – Spagnola and Officers Ed Bammerlin and David Pace – are certified by the International Police Mountain Bike Association. Officer Ryan Hare will soon receive this certification.

Adam said he would like every shift to be covered by the bike patrol, including the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. time slot. He said the e-bike will be on the streets during this time, particularly from June to August, as the summer months see a bit more youthful mischief during school closures.

He also said the bike is so quiet that those involved in illegal activities will be surprised to see an officer creep up on them.

electric bike handlebar

The left side of the handlebar contains the gears for the electric side of the e-bike. (Joanne Berger DuMound, special for cleveland.com)

The bike has regular cycle gears on the right side of the handlebars, with the electric throttle and other power assists on the left. Flashing lights change from white to red or blue in a flash. It also has GPS capability.

“It’s valuable if an officer is down, they can’t get to their radio or, frankly, if they’re robbed,” Adam said.

According to Adam, the e-bike has several advantages over a regular patrol bike.

“We get there faster and cover more ground. It can easily go along stairs, hills, gravel, sidewalks, woods and grassy areas without the fatigue of the officer’s physical exertion,” he said.

“We are also transporting a lot more material than before. Our vests weigh approximately 20 pounds. If you are chasing someone or heading into a scene, this weight affects your response. Not with an e-bike.

bike in the dark

The e-bike’s red, blue or white flashing lights are easily visible at night. (Joanne Berger DuMound, special for cleveland.com)

Adam said the bike can be seen at community events such as the upcoming Olmsted Spirit 5K race or drop traffic cones in places when needed. Since he is part of the bike patrol, he will be easily visible throughout the community.

“We’re seeing more community engagement and interaction with her. People pass by and ask, ‘Can I see your bike?’ said Spagnola.

Officers wear their police uniforms and bicycle helmets, and some may don a reflective yellow vest, all trying to set an example for other cyclists.

electric bike crossing the sidewalk

Olmsted Township Police Sgt. Leo Spagnola shows how easily and safely an e-bike rides on sidewalks. (Joanne Berger DuMound, special for cleveland.com)

The bike itself went for $3,895, but with a few necessary add-ons, the total was $5,300. The certification course costs $350 for each officer.

Adam would like to purchase a second e-bike to add to the township’s bike patrol.

“We would like to bring the six-hour training course to our community and become a host agency and training center,” Adam said. “It would help us network and share ideas.”

Both Adam and Spagnola agree that the e-bike offers a particular advantage.

“After leaving your shift on an e-bike, the officer can go home and continue playing with the kids and being a family man. The fatigue of a regular bike won’t be there,” Adam said.

officers with e-bike

Olmsted Township Police Chief Mark Adam, left, and Sgt. Leo Spagnola stands proud with the department’s first e-bike. (Joanne Berger DuMound, special for cleveland.com)

Watch for the e-bike on our streets. The bike patrol can also offer a special gift to passers-by and young people who wear their helmets while riding their bikes.

A big welcome to the electric bike to patrol our community. It appears that our police force has a good “grip” of the new addition as it “cycles” through the various service “changes”.

Polaris Honor: Congratulations to Polaris Career Center Senior Greg Shannon who placed eighth in Automotive Service Technology at the SkillsUSA State Competition.

The competition gives students the opportunity to show their skills in specific areas of vocational and technical training. Hundreds of students participate in various events in this statewide competition.

Art exhibition: The annual Olmsted Falls May Show takes place from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. this Friday (May 20) at the high school. The displays will be in the main gymnasium.

The event includes senior art projects as well as student, staff and community creations. The event is free and open to the public.

Polaris Summer Camp: The Polaris Career Center will once again offer Camp Discovery, an educational experience that gives students in grades 6-8 the chance to experience what Polaris has to offer in a fun, hands-on setting.

Classes will take place from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. from June 13 to 16. The registration deadline is June 3.

Each session costs $60 per student. It includes all supplies and a T-shirt.

Classes include garden games, culinary creations, junior police academy, machining madness, mini makeover, starting your engines, taking over business and young broadcasters. Many classes are affiliated with existing Polaris programs.

Online registration is at Polaris.edu/campdiscovery.

5K race: The Olmsted Spirit 5K will be here soon. It is scheduled for 8 a.m. on May 29 at Olmsted Falls High School.

The event has plenty of offers including raffles with great prizes. All participants will receive a free pancake breakfast after their events. Non-attendees can purchase tickets for $10. Breakfast is served from 8:45 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. or while supplies last.

Discover all the different types of races, including children’s races and age categories at olmstedspirit.com. You can also register for the race by clicking on “register now”. The race has a Facebook page — Olmsted Spirit 5k Race/Walk.

Fill the truck: Bring your unwanted fabric items to this Saturday’s (May 21) Fill the Truck event in the Falls-Lenox Elementary School parking lot. The truck will be there from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Olmsted Falls Music Association is collaborating with Savers in this fundraiser. Donors receive a tax deduction receipt. Saver will compensate the band based on the collected weight.

Items that can be donated are clothing; shoes; accessories, such as scarves, belts, handbags, hats, book bags and fabric lunch boxes; and household items such as sheets, curtains, drapes, towels, bedding, and fabric.

The association will not accept household items, toys, books, or non-cloth items.

Simply bring your donations in a plastic bag or box and drop them off. They will be reused for other purposes.

Reminders: This Thursday (May 19), the Olmsted Chamber of Commerce presents the state of play in Olmsted Falls. Mayor Jim Graven will discuss the topic from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. in the Council Chambers at Olmsted Falls City Hall. It is open to businesses and residents.

The Columbia Park Community Patio Sale takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Sunday (May 22). The park is located at 7100 Columbia Road. Stop at the gatehouse to pick up your map showing all the locations. You can also find them near the balloons in each location. The sale will take place rain or shine.

Information, please: To include news, information, honors or activities in Olmsted Falls and Olmsted Township, contact Joanne DuMound at jdumound@yahoo.com. She is also on Twitter, @JoanneDuMound. The online version of the section on cleveland.com/olmsted has direct links to many news articles.

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