Perhaps the most common symbol of Alabama's state troopers, and certainly the most visible, is the trooper car itself. And although the traditional patrol vehicle is most associated with troopers for obvious reasons, it certainly is not the sole vehicle used by the department in executing its mission, nor was it the first.
In a move that harkens back to the founding of the Highway Patrol in 1935. the Department of Public Safety is again using motorcycles in routine enforcement. No longer reserved for ceremonial duties and special traffic control details, the motorcycle trooper today has carved out a niche among the most effective, efficient, and versatile trooper on the road.
"Our motorcycle troopers' work ethic and dedication to traffic safety is first-rate," said Mobile Troop Commander. "Specifically in reference to his two man trooper team, they're assets to DPS because they efficiently work areas you just can't easily work in a patrol car."
The team has numbers to back up their story. There have been several days where the team has written well in excess of 70 tickets in an eight-hour period. More impressively, they pull down those same numbers working Choctaw and Washington counties, where there is no interstate and only about 15,000 residents.
"On one of our most successful days, I worked four hours, and in that short amount of time made two DUI arrests, one marijuana possession arrest, and issued numberous other citations, all on a Sunday afternoon."
"They work it," said the Troop Commander. "I'm really proud of those guys. They hit the road running, and they don't stop. Their versatility is apparent in everything they do."
A Trooper of the Montgomery Post is equally effective, shaving the time it takes to "write" tickets by using an e-ticket system more commonly found in patrol cars.
"most Alabamians don't expect to see a trooper on a motorcycle. That sort of adds an element of surprise for people, said a Trooper. "people definitely think of trooper cars before they think of us. Also, motorcycles are a great deal of help when a special events are concerned."
A Trooper touts the motorcycles' versatility in enforcement and emergency response. "The bikes are more maneuverable than patrol cars," he said. "I can easily ride down alleys, on sidewalks, and through buildings, if necessary, in responding to emergencies. We respond to traffic crashes, fights, and emergencies, and can often respond faster, due to the problems of traffic congestion or pedestrian traffic."
The Division Chief said the motorcycles are not a replacement for patrol cars and that they have obvious limitations, but that troopers are using them effectively "as an additional tool to make our highways safer." highway Patrol currently has 16 motorcycles in routine patrol service, with approval to add 10 more.