Raleigh, N.C. — It's been about a year since Raleigh police officers have been out patrolling the streets on motorcycles.
That's about to change.
The police department has added nine 2009 BMW R1200RT-P police motorcycles to its motor fleet – at a cost of $180,000 for the next three years.
Officers are in training to learn how to safely maneuver the motorbikes in traffic, and Sgt. Mike Smith, who heads the Raleigh Police Department’s motorcycle unit, says they could be on the streets by mid-August.
"Residents will also see motorcycles now in their neighborhoods, enforcing the motor-vehicle laws," Smith said.
The machines are state-of-the art and come with the latest radar and computer technology that will give officers all the information they need at the time of a traffic stop. They already used by the State Highway Patrol, Cary, Garner and Clayton police departments and other law enforcement agencies around the state.
Smith says the model is a better ride than the Harley-Davidsons the force used prior to its lease expiring last year.
"It's quicker and easier for us to maneuver and get out of," Smith said.
Three of the bikes will hit the road for their debut Saturday at the Capital City's downtown festival, Raleigh Wide Open.
Once deployed, they will be used primarily for traffic-related enforcement, such as speeding, but will also be used for special events, funerals and dignitary visits.