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Raleigh police add motorcycles to fleet

Posted July 30, 2010

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— 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.

Raleigh police motorcycle RPD gets new motorcycles

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.

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  • Smokin Jul 30, 2010

    The State Highway Patrol switched to BMW from Harley several years back. The BMWs were cheaper to run and more reliable. And don't forget, BMW has a large manufacturing plant for automobiles in SC (which we were in the running for but couldn't seal the deal). They employ a lot of people at the plant and industries like tires, carpet, etc.

  • james27613 Jul 30, 2010

    The BMW model uses a Boxer engine, this design has lower center of gravity and is a safer ride.

    BMW is the worlds largest seller of 'authority' motorcycles and are in use in over 225 countries.

    I hope the got the new assault rifle mount ($599) as an option.

  • flyguync Jul 30, 2010

    They could have bought an American police bike up until last October, but Harley shut down Buell. They made a really nice, well-handling police bike, but unfortunately Harley decided to cater to the "chrome-lovers".

  • capitalland Jul 30, 2010

    For the unexperienced. The Harley's are the ones that pass you with a rider wearing flip flops, a tee shirt, and a helmet that looks like a soup bowl. The BMW is the one that passes you and you say, wow, what was that?

  • Vietnam Vet Jul 30, 2010

    "But why BMW? Why not American made bikes such as Harley Davidson, Victory or Indian?"
    Because Harley Davidson is the only one these manufacturers that has a police model available that I'm aware of and the BMW is smaller, more comfortable, and more maneuverable than the HD, and I suspect probably less expensive to lease, and has the police model ready to go now? Other cities in the Triangle are using them in addition to agencies all over Europe. Harley Davidson is pretty "old school" where the BMW is not. More bang for the buck I say!

  • renewfeuerlein Jul 30, 2010

    Slappyh99 wrote: "The BMW is probably the ugliest motorcycle on the road. I agree with jsteiner, but from an American company when you can."

    Sure buy American, but only when they can offer a product suited for the purpose. Don't just buy a big fat, heavy, slow, noisy, gas guzzling Harley because you can or feel patriotic.

  • yabbadabbadooo Jul 30, 2010

    the FLHTP model with the upgraded electrics, radio top box, pursuit lights, etc is at least $20,000. The honda is another good one - the ST1300P models (or whatever the designation was for the ST1300). That BMW has very frequent valve adjustments needed, tires on motorcycles are lucky to go past 6000 miles at a cost of $350 for the set. in 60,000 miles you are looking at over $3000 in tires alone.... motorcycles aren't cheap to maintain.

    The purpose for a police motorcycle (or any emergency responder) is that in a situation where a car can't fit, a motorcycle could.... like a bad wreck in an area where there are a lot of cars stopped and a big car jam, the bike could get in easier.

    motorcycles will cost more to maintain over the same period as a car, so the fuel savings won't even out. Want fuel savings? get them all bicycles ;)

  • renewfeuerlein Jul 30, 2010

    JSteiner wrote: "I think cops getting bikes is great. But why BMW? Why not American made bikes such as Harley Davidson, Victory or Indian? Why not support our own economy and great American bike makers?"

    Guess you missed what the article said "Smith says the model is a better ride than the Harley-Davidsons the force used prior to its lease expiring last year."

    Harley, Victory, and Indian are much too heavy, are to noisy, slower accelerating, and uses more gas than European or Japanese motorcycles.

  • james27613 Jul 30, 2010

    The City has no money so they leased the motorcycles, highly rated by law enforcement in Europe.

    Yes, just like so many people living beyond their means, they
    leased an item they can not afford to buy.

    Oh, it's only $180K over three years.

    Nice when you spend the taxpayers money.

  • slappyh99 Jul 30, 2010

    The BMW is probably the ugliest motorcycle on the road. I agree with jsteiner, but from an American company when you can.

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