Palatine police building on pioneering use of electric motorcycles

Two years after becoming the first law enforcement agency in Illinois with an electric motorcycle, the Palatine Police Department is doubling down on the green technology.

The department, with the help of a $50,000 federal grant, is making plans to add a second electric motorcycle to its fleet later this year.

U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi visited the police station Monday to hand a ceremonial check to village officials. The grant will pay for the new vehicle and costs associated with outfitting it.

“We leapt at the opportunity,” to provide the funding, the Schaumburg Democrat said.

The village is aggressive in pursuing grants, Palatine Mayor Jim Schwantz said.

“If you can get a grant that’s going to make the village safer immediately, that’s a home run,” he added.

  Palatine police officer Taylor Black demonstrates the department’s electric motorcycle outside the police station Monday, when the department received a $50,000 grant to purchase a second EV motorcycle. John Starks/

The department ended its motorcycle operations about a decade ago. But then a pair of officers who ride, Eddie Christudhas and Taylor Black, successfully lobbied department brass to restore the unit with a sustainable twist.

“Taylor and I kind of had this dream,” Christudhas said. “What if we could revive the motorcycle unit?”

Now, the department is continually discovering its many virtues.

“Its agility allows our officers to navigate areas inaccessible to traditional patrol vehicles,” Chief William Nord said. “The motorcycle’s quiet operation enables officers to maintain a discreet presence in sensitive areas like schools and parks without causing any disruption.”

The bike currently in use is the 2022 Zero DSRP, manufactured in California. Besides the usual motorcycle functions, it features a laptop computer and a ticket printer.

  Palatine police officers Eddie Christudhas, left, and Taylor Black, with the department’s first electric motorcycle outside the police station Monday. John Starks/

The officers wear helmets with wireless communications, allowing them to speak with dispatch by pressing a button on the handlebars. There’s also a PA function in case the officer wants to speak with another driver or someone on the road.

Nord said the EV motorcycle also has enhanced the department’s community engagement efforts. The officers represent the department at local celebrations, including leading the parade at the Palatine Jaycees Hometown Fest.

  Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi hops aboard the Palatine Police Department’s electric motorcycle Monday as officer Eddie Christudhas shares a laugh with him. John Starks/

The vehicles can also help out in medical emergencies. A man had a medical incident on a bike trail once and called 911 unsure of his exact location, but Christudhas was able to locate the man.

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