Milford Police Department has had a motorcycle unit since 1996, a unit that was added because motorcycles are able to be used for a wider variety of functions than a car. Although the police force did not discontinue the motorcycle unit, many of the police officers who were certified to ride had difficulty doing so due to new responsibilities. In an effort to bring more visibility in the public, the police force decided to offer training to additional offers in order to increase the motorcycle unit.
“Currently, we have four new certified motor officers that have moved from the road patrol to other duties,” Sergeant Robert Masten said. “The five who were previously certified still ride, but not as often. This training was to have current patrol officers certified to permit for more utilization of our bikes. Chief Brown has made it a priority for as much visibility as possible from our officers in the public and one goal is also to have more motor patrols.”
Sgt. Masten said that the motorcycles were not just added to lead parades and funerals. He said that the force hopes to use them as a tool to engage the public more. He said that motorcycles provide the public with the presence of seeing an officer in a setting that they may not normally see a police officer. Research suggests that motorcycles have been shown as a crime deterrent and valuable in getting resources where they are needed as they can get through crowds or construction areas easier than a car. The officers assigned to the motorcycle unit handle the same complaints as other officers, although they must request assistance if they need to transport someone to the station.
In addition to the motorcycle unit, Sgt. Masten said that the police department still had the equipment for a bicycle unit as well as officers who were certified for that type of patrol.
“We are in the process of reviewing our goal of having officers more accessible to the public by being in the neighborhoods and business district,” Sgt. Masten said. “Currently, we are doing that with walking foot patrols but we are looking at bringing back the bike patrol as a positive tool within our community.”
The officers chosen for the motorcycle unit all have less than five years of service in the department. The police officers all have motorcycles they use for personal use so they already understood the nuances of motorcycle riding. All officers were provided additional training that would help them understand the different feel of police-equipped motorcycles.
“The officers feel that in today’s environment, creating positive public relations with the public is critical,” said Sgt. Masten. “They believe that the public will gain a more positive opinion of police officers when they see them on motorcycles as they present a more casual appearance than a police car.”
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