Local News

Raleigh Police Looking At Role Of Motorcycle Patrols

Posted September 17, 2002 6:42 a.m. EDT

— Road debris on Interstate 440 may be partly to blame for the accident that killed Raleigh motorcycle Officer Charles Paul last week.

Raleigh police said Paul was going 85 mph at the time of the accident. according to Raleigh police. Now, the department is questioning whether to keep officers on motorcycles and are re-evaluating where they should patrol.

"Police work in general is at times not safe," said Randy Miller of the

Police Benevolent Association

. "There's usually an accident every day," he added.

Police are expected to manage regular traffic problems and pursue speeding vehicles. Miller said officers can safely perform these duties on a motorcycle.

"There are officers who feel very safe on motorcycles. In fact, feel just as safe on a motorcycle as in a car," he said.

The Police Benevolent Association is urging the department to keep officers on motorcycles, according to Miller.

"It would be up to the individual officer whether they feel it's safe or not to operate a motorcycle in areas such as the beltline and other high-speed areas," he said.

Paul's accident marks the second time a Raleigh motorcycle officer died on patrol. The last motorcycle police death in Durham happened in the 1930s.

"There's just certain things you cannot avoid, and this was an accident that just happened," explained Miller.

In 2001, eight officers died on motorcycles in the United States compared to 41 car accident fatalities. The Police Benevolent Association said the benefits outweigh the risks of motorcycles.

"It's easier to operate a motorcycle in high congested areas, easier to get in and out of the area in order to pursue a speeder," said Miller.

For safety reasons, motorcycles typically patrol only during daylight hours in Raleigh.