Last week, Gainesville Police Chief Brian P. Kelly rolled out the department’s newest enforcement tools — three new 2013 Kawasaki police motorcycles.
The motorcycles will replace the aging fleet of Harley-Davidson Road Kings purchased in 1999.
“The motorcycles were funded through the fiscal year 2013 budget the council approved,” department spokesman Cpl. Kevin Holbrook said. “The motors on the Harleys were getting old, and they were costing a great amount to service.”
The new vehicles will allow the officers to perform their jobs more comfortably while being more efficient and safe. The motors will get better gas mileage than a typical police vehicle and allow the officers to maneuver around the city more efficiently.
The motorcycles will be equipped with all the tools and equipment found in a patrol car. The new vehicles will cost less to operate than the Harley’s and are more conducive to city driving.
Holbrook said the department did its research to make a smart purchase.
“We looked at inside studies, as well as outside studies by outside law enforcement studies. There are agencies that do vehicle testing every year, one of those being Michigan State Police, then they put out a report, and we analyze that report,” he explained.
“We had driven a number of different motors, looked at all of them out there. We look at it from one, a fiscal standpoint; two, a safety standpoint; and three, the comfort level.”
Holbrook said the new bikes are also more ideal in how they operate.
“The Harleys were not as conducive to the city environment as the new Kawasakis. The Harleys were air-cooled, so therefore they had to constantly be moving,” he said, adding the new cycles can be more fully equipped. “The Harleys are known as your old-school police motorcycle. This new motorcycle is made for your modern-day police officer, made for the electronics, computers, etc.”
The new vehicles will be more visible within the community, in use full time by the police department’s Patrol Traffic Services Unit.
“The officers that utilize the motors are highly trained,” Holbrook said. “They have to go through specialized training in order to be certified to ride the motorcycles, do recertification annually, then extensive training throughout the year.”
Those officers use motorcycles for better maneuverability and access to city accidents, Holbrook said.
“It’s a great community police tool,” he said. “These bikes, as compared to the Harleys, are very visible. They should stand out to the motorizing public, which give us more of a police presence in the community.”
The old motorcycles will be auctioned on govdeals.com, Holbrook said, an online auction site for government surplus items.