Police Motor Units
The History of Motorcycle Law Enforcement

 "Virtual Museum"


Baltimore Police Department

The Baltimore Police Department's Motor Cycle Unit was formed on May 29, 1914 with 5 Indian twin cylinder motor cycles.  Their main duty was to chase down speeding horse drawn vehicles but that quickly changed with the growing number of automobiles.  The unit has been in continuous operation since that day in 1914.  In the beginning, they worked out of the ten station houses but in the 1930's were assigned to the newly formed Traffic Division and were designated as the Traffic Enforcement Section, Motorcycle Unit (the division also had a parking control unit, a foot traffic unit that directed traffic downtown and an accident investigation unit).  The number  of officers has risen and fallen several times due to finances or safety issues but is alive and well today.  The recently appointed commissioner is from California and he is a supporter of motor units.  Harley Davidson is the only brand used and has been since 1920 when the local Harley shop opened in Baltimore.  The department used Cushman and small Hondas but these were used for foot beat officers to get to their posts.

1914 First Motor Officers



Harley's in 1920's









1968 Harley-Davidson Servi-car used for Parking Control









Davenport and Bailey in 1980









Information provided by the Officers and the Baltimore City, MD Police Department

Photos provided by www.BaltimoreCityPoliceHistory.com 

Thank you Ken!