The History of the Montgomery County Police Department Motorcycle Unit
The Montgomery County Police Department was established on July 4, 1922, consisting of five officers and a Chief. Each of the officers was issued a police motorcycle for routine patrol duties and was allotted $300.00 a year for the upkeep of their motor. Thus the Montgomery County Police Department was formed upon the foundation of the motorcycle.
Currently, the Motor Unit consists of forty-two full-time motor officers who make up six decentralized motor squads. The squads are assigned to each of the six district police stations and are under the command of a sergeant. The primary missions of the squads are traffic enforcement, collision reduction, pedestrian safety and maintaining the orderly flow of traffic in the county. The squads are also involved in special details to include, dignitary and Presidential escorts, funeral escorts, the Montgomery County Fair, the Tiger Woods Golf Tournament and numerous foot races and parades.
The Motor Unit currently fields twenty-eight 2007 and 2008 Harley-Davidson Police FLHTP motorcycles of which four to five are assigned to each of the district stations. The Unit also has one 2007 Harley-Davidson Police Road King motorcycle for testing and evaluation purposes. The squads at each station are divided into a day work and evening shift and those officers share motorcycles as necessary. The current work period for the squads is eight hour shifts, Monday through Friday.
The Unit also fields several training venues which are conducted by certified police motorcycle instructors. These include a Basic Police Motorcycle Operators Course, Motor In-Service for current motor officers and a Motor Orientation Course for prospective motor school candidates. All of these courses are approved by the State of Maryland and carry police in-service credit.
The Police Motor Orientation Day is a ten hour course in which prospective motor school candidates are exposed to the requirements of the Basic Police Motorcycle Operators Course. These students are given classroom briefings on the syllabus, to include grading requirements and a brief overview of the course in general. The students are then provided a training motorcycle and given the opportunity to ride the confined courses under the tutelage of the instructors. A general evaluation is conducted for each student to provide the training staff with an overview of the student’s basic riding skills and abilities. The instructors later demonstrate the more advanced skill exercises to the students which include, off-road, curve negotiation and braking. After completion of the course, students are provided with a certificate and become eligible to apply for a future basic motor school.
The Basic Police Motorcycle Operators Course is conducted at the Police Services Training Academy and is two weeks in duration. Candidates selected to attend the course have completed the Motor Orientation Course and must have a class “M” driver’s license. The course includes, confined course work, off-road, braking, curve negotiation as well as a Night Response Course and group long ride. During the course, student must pass all phases of training in order to graduate. Students who successfully complete the course are awarded a certificate and become eligible to apply for a position as a full-time motor officer as positions become available.
Finally, all current motor officers are given the opportunity to attend a two day Motor In-Service class which is offered twice a year, both in the Spring and Fall. This course includes a refresher in confined courses, braking, curve negotiation and off-road. A group long ride is conducted on the second day in the Spring class and a Tactical Firearms day is included in the Fall component.
The Unit also fields a Competition Team which participates in events that include both the United States and Canada. The team has received numerous awards in both the individual and team categories at these events. The Unit will also be hosting the Mid- Atlantic Police Motorcycle Safety Competition in Gaithersburg, Maryland in September of 2010.
The Montgomery County Department of Police Motor Unit continues its traffic safety mission today as well as the furtherance of police motorcycle safety and awareness throughout Montgomery County and the State of Maryland.
Information and Photos provided by the Montgomery County, MD Police Department.