ALLEN CO., Ind. (WANE) – A new, one- of- its- kind electronic bike facility is under construction at the Allen County Sheriff’s facility, one of a few departmental projects begun this year, Sheriff David Gladieux said.
Gladieux sat down with WANE 15 last week, looking back at the year’s progress in upgrading facilities and technology. 2022 is his last of eight years on the job.
Besides the EV bike facility, constructed without the aid of state or federal grants or any new county money, Gladieux spoke of an upgrade to in-car computer technology, a new procedural manual reflecting the modern world and the transformation of the department’s rifle range into a shared facility with the Fort Wayne Police Department, offering close and long range rifle practice. “We’ve had a very busy year, for sure,” Gladieux said, speaking at the department’s headquarters inside the Allen County Courthouse.
The idea for a bike training facility, estimated to cost about $200,000, was developed after a local company, Recon Power Bikes, approached the sheriff’s department and provided a demonstration. The need for bike patrols will grow as the state’s trail system grows and connects with other counties and cities, Gladieux said.
“You pedal on your patrol,” Gladieux explained, “but if you have to get somewhere fast you can go into the electric mode and get there much quicker. It’s not just about speed, but the condition of the officer. By the time he or she gets there, if they have to pedal a great distance, they’re going to be worn out.
Gladieux said Allen County will be one of the first departments with EV bikes and currently, there is no certification for the training.
“We’ve already piqued interest from several states away, all of them asking when is this facility going to get done,” Gladieux said. “They’re excited about it. We’re excited about it.”
Upkeep will be paid through a moderate fee paying system, he added.
Jeff Fuze, president and owner of Recon Power Bikes on Ley Road, is the largest producer of the e-bikes for law enforcement in the U.S.. “There are miles and miles of trails (in Allen County) and nobody patrols them,” Fuze said. The new training facility “will be the first e-bike law enforcement training facility in the world,” Fuze added
UPGRADED RIFLE RANGE
The department is about 75% done with its upgrade at the rifle range, a joint project with the Fort Wayne Police Department.
Two years in the making, the new range will feature up-close shooting, shooting platforms and obstacles and more vantage points for officer training, including a “fake wall with windows and doors and a simulated roof peak,” Gladieux said.
Long range rifle training between 200 and 400 feet away isn’t as practical for law enforcement anymore, Gladieux said. FWPD chipped in about $150,000.
Water flow at the facility was improved, but construction was delayed because of the wet fall, Gladieux said. He expects to cover remaining costs with money from the Allen County Jail commissary.