BY MAT CLOUSER
BRANDON — The Brandon Police Department (BPD) made national news last week as it became the first police department in the US to incorporate the affordable Kollter ES1electric motorcycle as part of its fleet—fitting for the town where the electric motor was invented.
BPD Chief David Kachajian said the $6,995 bike (before BPD’s 15% governmental discount) was paid for by grant funding from Green Mountain Power and approved funds from a budgetary surplus—a much smaller expenditure than typical police “motors” whose costs can stretch into tens of thousands of dollars.
BPD currently has one officer with the training and licensing required to operate the bike, although Kachajian intimated that more officers might be trained soon.
In a recent interview with electrek.com—a national website dedicated to electric transportation and sustainable energy—Kachajian outlined BPD’s plans for the new bike. “[It] will be primarily used for traffic enforcement and patrol, but we will also be using it in a hybrid capacity as a sort of ‘bike patrol’ in the downtown area of Brandon,” he said.
“When you use a regular bicycle for patrol, if an emergency comes in where you have to respond a far distance away, an officer on a bicycle would have to secure the bicycle on his/her cruiser and then respond to a call,” he continued. “With the electric motorcycle, it can be used as a motorized substitute for a normal bicycle, with all of its benefits and capabilities, but yet it has the ability to respond to calls that are far away that would normally require an officer to jump in their cruiser to respond to.”
In addition to the bike’s flexibility, Kachajian was quick to point out the economic aspects. “It can charge on a 240-volt charger in about two hours,” he said, adding that the bike has a top speed of around 70 mph and a range of approximately 100 miles.
“The bike should cost between .88 cents and $1.00 to run for a full 8-10-hour shift, depending on how it’s ridden,” said Kachajian, who added that a typical shift in a police cruiser is about 100 miles in driving, or roughly $30 in fuel—massive savings over the long term.
Kachajian also said he hoped the acquisition of the bike would serve as a sign of good faith in BPD’s efforts to move towards an all-electric fleet of vehicles in the future.