Erie Police Department on Thursday announced the addition of 10 new e-bikes to its saturation unit.

The goal is to make officers more available to the public in downtown Erie and other high-crime areas.

The bikes make it easier for officers to interact with community members, business owners and engage with the community.

"Community policing has changed," said Lt. Jamie Russo. "The old ways back in the '60s and '70s, where the guys were out doing foot patrol, we still do that, but this is kind of a hybrid of that because a foot patrol, you're very limited on what you can do. If there's a hot call 10 blocks away, you're probably not getting there in time. Now with the pedal bikes, you're out with the public, they see you out, and you're available to them because you're on the bike, you're not locked behind a car with the windows closed. You're still able to respond to distance calls at a distance in a more effective time manner."

The nearly $7,000 bikes were paid for using grants from State Representatives Merski and Harkins, and a donation from the Gary Sinise Foundation.