On Monday, Brian Kelly, lead singer of the country music group Florida Georgia Line, donated 12 electric bicycles to the Bay County Sheriff’s Office.
LYNN HAVEN — The Bay County Sheriff’s Office now has a new and more personable way to patrol.
Brian Kelly, lead singer of the country music group Florida Georgia Line, donated 12 electric bicycles to the sheriff’s office on Monday.
For Kelly, the donation was a way to show his appreciation for local law enforcement after the effort they put into keeping Bay County safe after Hurricane Michael.
RELATED: Member of country music duo, wife open clothing shop in Grayton
HURRICANE MICHAEL: Florida Georgia Line brighten Christmas for local students
He added that his band was among disaster-relief volunteers who helped get the area back on its feet. It was then, while putting a tarp on a roof, that Kelly got the idea for the bikes.
"I saw an officer riding a bike through a back yard and he wasn’t really going anywhere fast," he said. "It was that moment, honestly ... (that I thought) an e-bike would come in handy."
A total of 12 e-bikes, all designed by YOLO Board, were donated to the sheriff’s office on Monday. They feature BCOS logos, sirens and lights.
According to Jeff Archer, owner and CEO of YOLO, the bikes are part of a new division his company launched a few years ago.
Dubbed the YOLO Bolt, the model given to the sheriff’s office weighs about 65 pounds, can reach 30 mph and travel between 50-70 miles on a single charge. Archer added that "maxed out," they run about $3,000 apiece.
"The greatest thing about this line of bikes is that they’re reliable," Archer said. "Having them with the sheriff’s department, they’re going to help us nail that home because they’re going to be tougher on them than anybody is, and that’s really what the bike was built for."
Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said that he hopes the bikes will help officers be more approachable while patrolling the beach and neighborhoods.
Ford, who was seen cruising around the parking lot shortly after the donation, added that he planned to take one for a longer ride later that afternoon.
"This is going to allow us to get into neighborhoods, out on the beach (and interact) with people and develop those relationships that are so important," he said. "This will really change the game for us.
"If we were to look to buy these out of the budget, it would be hard to get this many that we could deploy into the community at one time," Ford added.
According to Kelly, the generosity for the donation stems from being taught by his parents to take care of your neighbor. He also donated customized e-bikes to the Walton County Sheriff’s Office last week.
"Once you go e-bike, it’s kind of hard to go back to a normal bike," he said. "Just to be able to share (that) with our officers, our sheriffs and those that are around us, I think it’s a great gift."