The History of the Bridgewater Police Department Motorcycle Unit
By MPO Greg Deeds Harrisonburg Police Department
Bridgewater, Virginia is an incorporated town in Rockingham County, which is located in the center of the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. It is included in the Harrisonburg, Virginia Metropolitan Statistical Area. Bridgewater is also home to Bridgewater College, a private, coeducational, four-year liberal arts college founded in 1880, historically associated with the Church of the Brethren. The town has a total area of 2.4 square miles. Under an agreement in December 2008 with the neighboring town of Mt. Crawford, VA, Bridgewater Police Officers now provide police services for the Town of Mt. Crawford which increased the police department’s patrol area to approximately (3 – 3.5) square miles.
The Bridgewater Police Department is comprised of 8 officers. Through the Harrisonburg / Rockingham County Mutual Aid Agreement Bridgewater Officers assist the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office and the town of Dayton Police Department with calls for service in the Southern end of Rockingham County. The Department has two officers on duty throughout day and night shifts.
In 2008 Bridgewater Police Chief Robert Hill began plans to implement a one-man motor unit. In October 2008 Officer Larry Papotnik was selected to attend the United States Park Police two-week Basic Motor School in Washington D.C., due to the fact that the U.S. Park Police provided his motorcycle for training.
In 2009 the Bridgewater Police Department’s operating budget reflected the monies for the start-up of the town’s one-man motor unit, later that year a Harley Davidson Electra Glide Police Motorcycle was purchased from Shenandoah Harley Davidson located in Staunton, Virginia.
In 2016 Bridgewater Police Chief Joe Simmons replaced their Harley Davidson Electra Glide with a Victory Commander I Series Police Motorcycle, purchased from Victory Motorcycles of Nevada.
Information and Photos provided by the Bridgewater, VA Police Department and Greg Deeds of Harrisonburg, VA Police.