Knoxville Police Turn to Bikes to Save Money on Gas

By: Mike McCarthy, Reporter
By: Mike McCarthy, Reporter

Knoxville (WVLT) - Higher gas prices has all of us emptying more from our wallets to fill up our tanks.

But for many Knoxville city departments, pricier pumps mean stretching an already tight budget.

As reporter Mike McCarthy explains, the Knoxville Police Department is saving you more than a few cents with gas-free law enforcement.

Knoxville's business district is a traffic trap and it's under the watchful eye of KPD Officer Steve Sise, just not from a typical patrol car.

"It's a different type of a beat," says Sise. "But it's just the same as any other police officer we just do it on a bike."

A bike makes it quick and easy to weave around people and traffic.

Sise and his fellow officers patrol 2 to 3 miles in Downtown Knoxville, including Market Square. And the bikes do more than just make it easier to get around town. They also make it cheaper.

With gas at nearly $2.50 a gallon gas free policing, like the 19 officers on bike patrol, saves KPD some serious cash.

"It would be thousands, thousands in savings if you're looking at the number of trips made everyday," Police Lieutenant Robert Hubbs explains.

But that's not just from using officers' legs to get around town, KPD has two of these electric cars.

At $8,500 a piece, they're used to doing routine spot checks downtown, checking meters, and shuttling officers.

But it's not the perfect answer. The car only goes about 25 miles per hour and as Lt. Hubbs put it, "it's limited in range. You can charge it and it's for maybe six or seven hours of use. It's small. It's something you wouldn't want to be in heavy traffic with."

Back on the bike, Sise doesn't have to worry about gas, at least not at work.

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