Danville Police Department to roll out motorcycles

Danville Police Department to roll out motorcycles
Danville Police Department to roll out motorcycles

Danvillians can expect to see a few of their police officers on motorcycles patrolling the city’s streets and working ceremonial events.

The Danville Police Department is adding six motorcycles to its fleet of vehicles. Four will be be used for patrols and two will be used for funerals and other related events.

Addition of bikes will enable the department to better enforce traffic laws and improve community interaction.

“It enhances our ways to serve the community,” said Danville Police Department spokesperson Jennifer Bowles.

The 2022 Harley Davidson Electra Glide motorcycles cost about $18,000 each and are being covered by federal coronavirus relife money, said Danville Police Department Maj. Chris Wiles.

They will be the first motorcycles the department has had in several decades, Wiles said. The city previously used motor bikes in the 1940s and 1950s, as well as the 1970s, he said.

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“It’s an additional form of transportation for patrol,” Bowles said.

Harley-Davidsons were used by the department in the 40s and 50s and Kawasakis were used in the 70s, Wiles said.

“Harley-Davidson has a strong presence in police departments across the nation,” Wiles said.

Motorcycles improve traffic enforcement by being better to able to travel and maneuver on feeder roads that cut through residential areas, Wiles said.

“A motorcycle has a tight turning radius and can set up where cars cannot,” Wiles said, referring to narrow streets with cars parked on each side.

Danville Police Officer Ernest Coppage takes one of the police department’s new motorcycles for a ride Tuesday afternoon at the department’s headquarters. The fleet of bikes will include six 2022 Harley-Davidson Electra Glides. Two will be for ceremonial events such as parades and funerals and the department will use the other four for traffic patrol. 

All six motorcycles are fitted with flashing lights and sirens. The four patrol vehicles also include an equipment box to hold a small computer and small printer, Wiles said.

Besides bolstering traffic enforcement, the motorcycles improves the officer’s engagement with the community.

“It enhances our ability to have public interaction,” Wiles said. “A motor officer is out and about, with much more visible public interaction.”

In addition, regular patrol officers will not have to be pulled from their beats to work a funeral or parade. That job will be for those trained for the motorcycles.

Officers assigned to motorcycle patrol must go through a rigorous two-week training regimen under the Virginia State Police. It includes three parts: 10 obstacle courses, five road courses and off-road riding.

“We’re excited about it,” Wiles said of the department’s upcoming addition of motorcycles.

Bowles said she was not sure when the department would begin using them.

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