The Asheville Police Department’s newest motorcycles are 2017 Harley Davidson Electra Glide Police models. The two new bikes join APD’s existing fleet of 2010 models of the same machine.
According to Lt. Mike Yelton, police motorcycles are used for enforcement, outdoor special events, VIP and funeral escorts and any other assignment where the ability to maneuver in places that would restrict traditional police vehicles may come in handy.
Motorcycling also encourages interaction with community members. Yelton adds that the open nature of driving motorcycles makes it much easier for motorcycle officers to interact with the public both on and off the bikes. Motorcycling in general serves to create conversation between folks, and police motorcycles are no different. The public often likes to approach motor officers to ask questions about the machines and the job, and these impromptu conversations typically lead to more personal interactions than officers often experience when operating traditional vehicles from behind windows and doors.
Yelton encourages people to take a moment and chat with officers when they see them out.
Special training needed
Now, not every police officer can ride a motorcycle. Yelton says that riding a police motorcycle is very different than recreational motorcycling with regards to the demands placed on the operator. As such, these officers must attend and pass a Basic Police Motorcycle Operator’s Course, which is two weeks of intensive training in basic and advanced motorcycle techniques. This training teaches critical life-saving skills to our officers, and many consider it to be some of the most difficult training they have experienced.
Our motor officers have also completed a variety of additional courses, adding up to several additional weeks of training, as well as ongoing in-service training to continue to operate the motorcycles.
APD currently has 4 officers certified to ride motorcycles and the department tries to have at least someone working enforcement on the motorcycles every shift.