The History of the Idaho State Police Motorcycle Unit
Written by Scott Tulleners
The Idaho State Police Motor Team located in Boise, ID is one of the hardest working units in the Treasure Valley. More than half of all Idahoans live in this Snake River area of southwest Idaho. We are expected to ride our motors year round, weather permitting, even in the most extreme environments. During the summer the temperature rises above 100 degrees Fahrenheit on a regular basis and in the winter drops below 30 degrees Fahrenheit. The five man team, plus the sergeant, will ride in any temperature as long as the roads are clear and dry.
Our specific function is to maintain the traffic flow, reduce aggressive driving and respond to crashes on Interstate 84. We are the only unit that can quickly respond to incidents in gridlock traffic. We ride the bikes extremely hard, constantly going from zero to above 100 mph and then back down to zero as we make continuous traffic stops throughout our shift. Working this hard on a daily basis lends to severe wear and tear on our equipment.
In the spring of 2009, the Idaho State Police Motor Team was set for a new fleet of police motorcycles. Long hot days and the severe work duty of traveling in our wide range of speed on the interstate was taking its toll on our aging motorcycle fleet. A bid was sent out and Beaudry Motorsports was awarded the contract.
We didn’t get the commonly seen motorcycles in the police world, though. Beaudry had the first five of sixty Kawasaki Concours™ 14 motorcycles to be built to our specs. None of us even knew Kawasaki was back in the police business since the KZ1000 stopped rolling out. These 2009 model motorcycles came with the optional ABS, making them the Concours 14 ABS.
Our curiosity grew as we waited for the bikes to be built. We had no idea how these new bikes would look, handle or perform in our environment. After some research we learned that Beaudry Motorsports has been outfitting police motorcycles for the last 11 years. They were able to negotiate through Kawasaki a contract to build sixty motorcycles as a test run to see if the Concours 14 would be a viable police motorcycle.
Our five new Kawasaki’s arrived in late May fully outfitted with all of the accessories we sent to Beaudry. By total luck, the black metallic paint (Flat Super Black) on the new bikes matched our Dodge Charger fleet almost exactly.
The bikes came with a steel trunk beautifully crafted by one of Beaudry’s outsourced steel shops. The trunk holds radio equipment and is used for extra storage. The saddle bags hold more gear than an officer on a motorcycle needs to put in them, and Beaudry came up with optional steel saddle bag dividers that help keep you organized. The rear crash bars have a mount for a variety of flash lights including the full sized lights.
As you move towards the front of the bike, you can see the radio and radar head are mounted in between the handle bars via a custom mounting plate. The handlebars also have risers added in them for riding comfort. All light controls and “push to talk” buttons are conveniently mounted. The Whelen LED emergency lights are plenty bright and offer 32 different patterns. Beaudry also installed an auxiliary battery to handle all the extra electrical equipment. Despite all the amenities, though, the maintenance is more cost effective than our prior bikes. Also, adding white stripes and the Idaho State Police badge made the Kawasaki’s represent the crisp, professional image we strive to maintain.
From a motor officer’s view, the Kawasaki Concours 14 is nothing less than purely impressive. With more than 150 horsepower and more than 100 pound feet of torque, the less than 700 pound bike rockets up to speed faster than any other police bike I have ridden. The Kawasaki is smooth at any speed and handles the police cone courses very well. Even though it does not turn as hard as some other police models, it makes up for it in lean angle.
Sergeant Chris Duggan of the Idaho State Police Motor Team describes the Kawasaki as, “Perfect for what we do. We pull out into heavy traffic, accelerate to 120 mph and brake back down to zero.”
Overall, the Kawasaki is a powerful and smooth machine that any officer would enjoy working with. With speed, safety, looks and a more cost effective bike to maintain, the Kawasaki Concours 14 has proven to be the best choice for the Idaho State Police Motor Team. It puts an ear to ear grin on every officer’s face when they crack open the throttle and launch out onto the road.
Information and Photos provided by the Idaho State Police