The State Police Commissioner in 1911 was Thomas Egan. He purchased one of the first Henderson Motorcycles at the end of 1911. The first State Policeman to operate his machine was named Rowe Wheeler. Wheeler came on the State Police in 1908; he passed away in 1957 at the age of 72.
The department utilized the Henderson Motorcycle for the next several decades and it then switched over to the "Indian" with 50 of them being purchased in 1936 at a cost of $373.00 each. After World War II the department mixed up the bikes issued between Indians and Harleys. In 1948 the number of motorcycles within the Department had dwindled to 40 but was not used and the program was abandoned. The amount of bikes the department had was affected by the war effort and post war shortages. Commissioner Leo Mulcahy jumped started the program in 1959 by renting several motorcycles. This program too was somewhat short lived and fizzled out. For the third time the program was started again in earnest, that was in 1983 when Kawasaki's were purchased through a Federal Grant.
Unfortunately in the 20's and 30's there were plans to get rid of motorcycles all together due to fatalities involving department members. The first Trooper killed on a motorcycle was Pearle E. Roberts, he was killed in 1922. One of Roberts's relatives (Mark Roberts) is currently a State Trooper, carrying on Pearle's legacy. The second Trooper killed on a motorcycle was Bartholomew Skelly in 1924. The next man down was Lloyd Eukers in 1928. Stanley Hellberg fell in 1929. Leonard Watson was the last to pass from motorcycle injuries in 1932. Training efforts were increased dramatically and this paid off.
From the early 1980's after the department switched to the Kawasaki KZ-1000 it has returned to the Harley Davidson Road King.
Rowe Wheeler on Left, Around 1921 on a 1910 Henderson
Gardner, George Tpr and Chief of Killingly circa 1924.jpg
Dept. Acc 1936 Heinhold O. Saybrook M.C.
1924 Indian Chief
1925 Excelsior-Henderson Four Cylinder
1936 Indian "Inverted" Four-Cylinder. VERY RARE
1942 Harley-Davidson FL Knucklehead
2006 Harley-Davidson Electric-Glide
2006 Harley-Davidson Police Electric-Glides