The History of the Anaheim Police Department Motorcycle Unit
Upon the arrival of the automobile in the early 1900s, the City of Anaheim found itself in a new position of trying to handle the problems associated with motor vehicle traffic. In 1909, Town Marshal N.F. Steadman obtained approval from the Board of Trustees to deputize two local Anaheim citizens who owned their own Indian motorcycles. These deputy patrolmen followed motorists until they saw them speeding. Upon witnessing the traffic violation, they wrote down the vehicle license number and speed and turned the information in to the Board, who would later fine the violator. The deputy received the fine money as payment for his service. This practice continued until 1911.
New methods were explored to monitor traffic throughout the years. In 1911, Chief John Kellenberger experimented with monitoring traffic from a hot air balloon. Chief Kellenberger saw the need for continued use of Traffic Officers on motorcycles. He was able to convince the Board to hire two full time officers on a thirty day trial period at a salary of seventy-five cents an hour. The two officers made over 60 arrests and brought in more revenue than they cost. Their value to the city was recognized and they became a permanent part of the Anaheim Police Department, working twenty-four hours a week.
In 1918, Marshal Albert Wood appointed Fred Minyard as the first full-time Motor Patrolman.
Throughout the passage of time, the Traffic Bureau of the Anaheim Police Department has grown to meet the challenges of this community.
In the early 1950s, two additional officers were assigned to motorcycle duty, bringing the total to three full-time Traffic Officers. In 1954, Chief Stephenson began working with Walt Disney and his staff to being planning for the upcoming traffic conditions associated with Walt’s new theme park. One year after opening Disneyland, the motorcycle squad was increased to seven officers.
In 1957, the traffic duties were still the responsibility of the Patrol Division. The Traffic unit of the Patrol Division consisted of eight Motorcycle Officers, one three-wheeled Motorcycle Officer, six Traffic Accident Investigators and one Sergeant.
In 1963, the traffic function became a separate Bureau in the Patrol Division. Lieutenant Alvin Rogers took command of the first Traffic Bureau with two Sergeants, six Accident Investigators, twenty Motor Officers, two three-wheeled Motorcycle/Parking Control Officers and one Clerk. In the mid 1960s, the Traffic Bureau was transferred to the Patrol Support Division and an additional Sergeant was added, along with fourteen more Motorcycle Officers, one additional Traffic Investigator and a Clerk.
In 1966, the California Angels moved into their new stadium in Anaheim. The responsibility of controlling this additional traffic was delegated to Motorcycle Officers. In the early 1970s, the Department instituted a new Traffic Control Unit, employing thirty-six Traffic Control Assistants to control traffic around the Stadium, Disneyland and the Convention Center.
Since that time the size of the Motor Unit has increased or decreased in response to the needs of the community. The unit currently consists of eighteen Traffic Enforcement Officers and four riding sergeants. These officers conduct traffic enforcement duties on a full time basis throughout the city. Together with approximately thirty Traffic Control Assistants, motor officers also direct traffic at venues such as Angel Stadium, the Anaheim Convention Center, Disneyland, And the Honda Center (Home of the Anaheim Ducks), which opened in 1993.
For more information on the Anaheim Police Department, visit the City of Anaheim web site by clicking on the patch above.
Information and Photos provided by the Anaheim, CA Police Department