RIPON (CBS13) – Thanks to a grant, the Ripon Police Department just bought two electric motorcycles.

At half the weight of a traditional motorcycle – but with a little less speed – officers are finding the bikes have benefits they never considered.

“It’s a tool useful for enforcement, but is also good for engaging with the community,” said Ripon Police officer Mario Ysit.

Because the bikes go a little slower and aren’t as loud, people are able to approach the bike easily.

“I can ride it right through a city park at very low speeds and make contact with a lot more people in a short amount of time,” Ysit said.

They’re also useful for sneaking up on people doing something against the law.

“We do a lot of enforcement at the Stanislaus River with people using drugs or alcohol that’s not allowed,” Ysit said.

The electric motorcycles also reduce the police department’s carbon footprint while also saving money

“For the 100 miles I get out of the zero motorcycle, that’s going to cost about $1.68,” Ysit said.

Officers said they aren’t ready to give up their gas motorcycles just yet, though; because if there’s a need for speed, the electric ones just can’t compete.

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