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Despite Accident, Some Raleigh Motorcycle Cops Eager To Be Back On Highways

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RALEIGH, N.C. — It has been six weeks since Raleigh motorcycle officer Charles Paul died. He lost control of his bike and crashed while trying to catch up with a speeder on the beltline. After the accident, the department pulled its motorcycle unit off the streets. The Police Benevolent Association thinks it is time the unit returns to full duty.

On Sept. 10, 2002, tragedy struck the Raleigh Police Department when Officer Charles Paul hit a guardrail with his motorcycle on I-440 and died. Recently, the department's motorcycle cops returned to city streets, but the motorcycle unit has yet to return to interstates or the Beltline.

"Right now from what I understand, this is not a permanent situation," said Randy Miller, president of the Raleigh-Wake County Police Benevolent Association. "Most of the members that ride on the motorcycle unit that I've talked to feel that the motorcycle is just as safe if not safer than the car. They feel they're the ones who should be making the decision whether or not it's safe to operate in these areas."

Miller said motorcycle cops are uniquely capable of catching up with speeders in a high traffic area like the Beltline.

"There's a big difference between maneuverability with a car and a motorcycle, and it's a whole lot easier to get behind a car on a motorcycle than it is in a car," Miller said.

Miller said the officers believe it is safe to return to the Beltline and think the department will come to the same conclusion.

"We do understand the police department's side of it also that they want to make sure that they're providing safe equipment and making sure he's going to be able to go home at night," he said.

Despite repeated attempts to talk with the Raleigh Police Department Tuesday, they would not make anyone available to speak with WRAL about this issue. It is not known when or if the motorcycle officers will be back on the highways.


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