Motorists used to keeping an eye out for those black police SUVs and pickup trucks lurking back under the trees alongside A1A in Indian River Shores will soon have a new reason to keep their speed down: The town is buying its first police motorcycle.
The Harley is slated to go into service by the end of the year. “It is part of stepped-up traffic enforcement, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to citations,” said Public Safety Chief Rich Rosell. “It will still be within the officers’ discretion to give a warning.”
Rosell said he and Town Manager Jim Harpring saw the motorcycle as a way to get an officer out in the community in a cost-effective manner. “It’s a good, high visibility way for us to get out into the smaller neighborhoods, and in terms of maneuverability after a storm when there’s debris on the roads, a motorcycle can go places that a car or ambulance can’t safely go,” Rosell said.
“I have every intention of outfitting that bike with enough life-saving equipment to keep somebody going until the ambulance gets there,” Rosell said last week prior to the Town Council meeting.
The Shores Town council approved the purchase of the 2023 model Harley Davidson Electra Glide motorcycle on its consent agenda. No one singled out the item for discussion, so it passed in a grouping of routine business along with a new patrol car needed to replace an aging cruiser.
The patrol car will cost about $58,000 once customized for law enforcement use, and the police motorcycle will cost $36,000 fully equipped.
The base model motorcycle on government contract pricing runs less than $18,000, but then it will need more than $17,000 in safety equipment and upgrades like blue flashing lights, a siren and equipment storage, which will be packed with a mobile medic kit.
The Shores has one officer who is already trained on motorcycle patrol, so he will manage the program, training two additional officers on patrolling by bike. It will take a few months for those officers to become proficient.
When the motorcycle finally joins the force, it will only be used during daylight hours, so motorists won’t need to be on the lookout for the bike at night. “I’ve managed motorcycle patrols before and it’s much safer for the officers if it’s only used during the day,” Rosell said.
Harpring, who came to the Shores from a career in law enforcement administration with the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office, said he fully supports the addition of a motorcycle officer.
“I spoke to each one of the council members individually about the proposal so I could address any concerns they had.”
Though the money for the vehicles was already in the public safety budget, Rosell and Harpring put the details in the council’s agenda packet so no one would be surprised when the motorcycle shows up.
“I think it’s a great thing that they want to know what we’re spending the money on,” Rosell said.