Reading police are testing a new tool they may soon use to help in the city's fight against crime.
Lieutenant Bruce Monteiro is spending a few days patrolling the streets on a police version of the Zero electronic motorcycle.
"It's a good public relations tool as well as a good crime-fighting tool because of the fact that it's silent," Monteiro said.
The stealth-like bikes also provide other advantages over the Harley Davidson motorcycles RPD patrol officers used to ride.
"These bikes, you can go up on the trails, they can go up and down steps, through City Park, if you have to, up into Reading High, around the fields, that kind of stuff," Monteiro said. "So, they're going to be a lot more versatile and a lot more useful."
Reading police have set aside money to buy two of the Zero motorcycles, becoming the first department in Pennsylvania to add them to its fleet, Monteiro said.
"The cost is not cost-prohibitive, and the fact that you now have no additional expense because you're not putting any gas, no oil changes, no maintenance. The bike is very simple. It's got brake pads and a belt, so as far as a maintenance standpoint, it's going to be very economical," Monteiro said.
The bikes, according to their California-based manufacturer, can reach a top speed of 95 mph and can travel up to 164 miles on each charge.
"Police officers put their lives on the line every day to protect and serve, so it’s imperative that we give them all the tools necessary to allow them to be successful," said John Lloyd, vice president of global sales for Zero Motorcycles.
Motorcycles were last used by Reading police officers on patrol about five years ago, according to Monteiro.