Maple Valley is now the first city patrolled by the King County Sheriff's Office to use electric motorcycles.
The two electric cycles cost the city $14,000 each and less $1 a day to maintain. They are nearly silent and charge on a power plug in about eight hours.
“There is no reoccurring maintenance. We don’t change the oil. We don’t have to put gasoline in it. The only thing we have to do is put fresh tires on it once in a while and make sure the brakes are functioning. Other than that there is no other maintenance other than plugging in the bike at night and getting it ready for the next shift,” Deputy Sam Hooper said.
Hooper, in charge of the project, says the bikes are very effective in patrolling off the road and wherever the public may travel.
“We check the beaches. We check all the nooks and crannies for all the kids. They get up into the woodline, up in here, and they think they’re out of sight, out of mind, and they think they can do all the things that kids do. But we come up on them now. We find them in all the nooks and crannies, and now they’re well aware that any second they aren’t going to hear us coming, and we’re going to come around the corner and contact them,” Hooper said. “You won’t hear us moving throughout the parks, and the trails and the point of that is that people enjoy the parks and the trails, they enjoy the nature areas. We don’t want to affect them in a negative way. We want them to see that the police officers are out there ensuring that they are safe, but we also want them to continue enjoying the nature area, which is the whole reason that they were out there in the first place.”
And city council member Linda Johnson says it adds to a sense of safety for the community.
“I think it’s a great investment. I would rather spend money on a bike, and getting the police out there, than a gun. They have to have those. The sheriff’s department can provide those. But this does a great job with the community policing in a safe manner for everybody -- the police officers and the citizens," Johnson said.
“I highly recommend them to any city anywhere,” Mayor Sean Kelly said. “If you have any kind of trails, any kind of outdoor areas, they are just, they’re great. They are everywhere.”