Jeffersonville Police revamp bike patrol with grant money

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) – The Jeffersonville Police Department is revamping its bike patrol to fight crime on new wheels.

It’s all thanks to a $50,000 federal grant split between Jeffersonville, Clark County and Clarksville.

The Jeffersonville Police Department got $38,000, while the Clarksville Police Department and Clark County Sheriff’s Office split the rest.

Clarksville Chief Mark Palmer tells WDRB his department used the money for new Tasers and updated equipment.

Clark County spent its portion on new body radios for the officers.

As for the new bikes in Jeffersonville, the department used a portion of the grant money to buy eight of them. Each one is fully outfitted with a price tag of nearly $2,000.

"They've got re-enforced rims, shocks, these bikes will stand the test of time," said Jeffersonville Assistant Chief Scott McVoy.

McVoy says the department spent a total of $18,000 on the bikes including safety and replacement equipment and racks. The package also includes police lights, speedometer and siren.

They'll replace some of their older bikes that cannot be rehabbed and possibly give some of those away.

McVoy expects the new rides to last 10 to 12 years if not longer, despite the wear and tear throughout the city.

"It's a lot different than just pedaling around like you would when you were a kid," said Officer Aaron Olson.

Officer Olson is one of the department’s 15 bike patrol officers. He and the others go through special training before hopping on. They learn how to ride over curbs, down stairs and through rough terrain.

The first arrest Olson made while on the bike was a DUI.

"She drove right past us,” said Olson. “I yelled at her to stop, she pulled into a parking spot and when I was talking with her I smelled alcohol and did the investigation and she tested over the legal limit."

Olson says being on two wheels makes them more approachable. They ride all over the city including outside of downtown.

"Everyone I've interacted with on the bike likes it," said Olson.

Officers can fit in tighter spaces and patrol areas near the waterfront and walking bridge that are not always accessible in their cars.

McVoy says since the bikes are quieter, they can sneak up on unsuspecting lawbreakers.

"You don't expect that,” said McVoy. “If you're out doing things you shouldn't be doing that's probably not what you expect to see is an officer on a bike. And this past summer they stopped a burglary in progress -- just rolled right up on it."

The department spent the remaining grant money on new spike strips for patrol cars.

As for the bikes, Jeffersonville Police hope to purchase even more this year.

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