The History of the Tampa Police Department Motorcycle Unit
Throughout the history of the Tampa Police Department, police motorcycles can be seen in pictures as far back as 1910. They varied from early Indian Motorcycles to Harley Davidson’s that the department presently uses. The Tampa Police Department established the current Traffic Enforcement Unit in 1993, utilizing federal grant funding to purchase twelve motorcycles. As Traffic congestion within the city continued to increase, the need for a second squad of motorcycle officers became evident. In 1999, the second contingent of officers underwent the specialized four week police motorcycle training program and entered service on the Motorcycle UnitThe Traffic Motorcycle Unit works to make Tampa’s roadway safer to reduce traffic accidents and ultimately save lives. The officers utilize Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (S.T.E.P.) strategies to enforce traffic laws, raise public awareness of the need to drive safely and apprehend aggressive drivers.
The unit deploys throughout the city daily with each member having an assigned area of responsibility. Officers analyze traffic accident data for trends and then develop enforcement strategies to reduce accidents within their areas. They use state-of-the-art radar and laser speed measuring technology, unmarked police cars and in-car video cameras to enforce speed limits and detect aggressive drivers.Motorcades & DignitariesThe Motorcycle Unit is called upon to participate in special operations such as motorcades for the President, Vice-President, Heads of foreign states, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Secretary of Defense, the US Attorney General, and many other dignitaries as Tampa has become a frequent stop. The Motorcycle squad also participates in parade duties such as escorts and precision drill team exhibitions which showcase the unique role and capabilities of the unit.
Traffic Enforcement Operations are conducted weekly on major streets, expressways and the interstate system to further combat aggressive driving and reduce accidents. Other group enforcement operations, including Operation Safe Pedestrian, Operation Safe Kids, Buckle-Up Florida, Stop Red Light Running Week and Railroad Crossing Safety Week are conducted in conjunction with other state and local law enforcement agencies.
Information and Photos provided by the Tampa, FL Police Department.