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The Hollister Police Department will be adding an electric motorcycle to its patrol fleet thanks to a $19,256 grant from the Monterey Bay Air Polluction Control District. Calling it “an emerging trend in law enforcement,” Detective Chris Wells said in a report to the Hollister City Council that electric motorcycles “cost less to maintain and do not require gasoline to run.” He said the use of electric vehicles “demonstrates to our community that we are serious about making our world better to live in while still protecting our community.”

Electric motorcycles are “a viable alternative” to the traditional patrol car, Wells’ report said, noting that while a regular patrol car can get caught in traffic, “the motorcycle can twist and weave through traffic, allowing the officer to respond to emergency calls much quicker.” He noted that regular patrol cars “are large and loud, making them easily recognized by persons committing crimes, allowing the criminals to escape detection and apprehension.”

The electric motorcycles, on the other hand, are “lightweight, slim and silent.”

Wells said that officers “would be able to ride the motorcycle in high-crime areas virtually undetected” and that the cycles “can be ridden almost everywhere a human can walk/run, such as walkways, sidewalks and narrow alleys.”

The city council unanimously approved using the grant and $1,705 in existing police department funding to purchase the motorcycle, which Wells said will help officers “be looked at as more approachable to the community” because of the quiet nature of the vehicle.

The police department will use the motorcycle with “a select group of officers trained to ride it.” It will be used for traffic enforcement, patrol operations, to access otherwise inaccessible areas and as “a high-visibility public relations tool,” the report said.

New CSO for police department

In other action, the council authorized $8,000 in funding from current officer vacancies to hire a part-time community services officer whose job will include providing Live Scan services to the community. The police department expects to have the machine available in the new year to provide fingerprinting services for citizens. Live Scan fingerprinting is required for certain jobs that mandate background checks, such as teaching, city employment and classified work.

Police Chief David Westrick recommended to the council that the part-time CSO position be budgeted for the 2016-17 fiscal year and beyond, with the salary funded by Live Scan fees.

Parking restrictions finalized

The council gave final approval to establishing three-hour parking restrictions on portions of three streets, Flora Avenue, Gateway Drive and Maple Street, where recreational and other vehicles have been parking for extended periods. The amended ordinance will provide the police department an enforcement tool to cite vehicle owners who do not move their vehicles in a timely manner.

School resource officer agreement extended

The council renewed its agreement with the Hollister School District to share the cost of two  school resource officers on 10 local school campuses through June 2018.