In the Saddle (Real Stories)

Whistle or Siren

1974 Harley-Davidson FHL Motor Officer Dave Stopper

  1970’s, Motor Officer

If you look carefully, you’ll notice the rear wheel friction siren.  It was activated by a heal pedal behind the left footboard that caused the siren shaft to rub on the rear wheel.  A real rush when you put siren drag on the left side of the rear tire at about 80+ mph!  Didn’t work worth the darn in the rain or if you got stopped at an intersection.  We often ran on emergency calls with a whistle in our mouth in case you got stopped and needed to cross traffic.

“If the Boot Fits, If Not Stuff It”

 In 1975 Motor Officer Jerry Blough transferred off the Motor Unit to the Detective Division of the City of Sunrise, FL Police Department. This created an opening in the Motor Unit.  The department had two requirements.  First, riding experience. Second, the officer must wear a size 9 1/2 Motor Boots.  The Motor Boots were passed down from motor officer to motor officer.  A young 19 year old Officer by the name of Kurt Kotrady wanted the position.  When interviewing for the Position he failed to advise them to date he’d only ridden a 100cc Honda Motorcycle and not a Harley Davidson as expected nor did he tell them his boot size was 9.   A few days after the interview the Motor Supervisor told him to grab the spare kick start Harley, and to get familiar with the bike on his off-duty hours.  Kurt was told “If you don’t wreck, in time you’ll get a newer motorcycle.”  While getting familiar with the controls the foot activated siren control brushed up against the median curb which caused it to stop and lean on its side.  He was a little shaken but he continued his self-training after righting the bike. At that time there was not a formal Motor Officer training course.  Years later a training course was created.  The Course consisted of traveling around 2 cones in a figure pattern.  After successful completion of traveling around the cones you were qualified.   Kurt realized shortly after starting on motors and after driving past several store fronts seeing his reflection, the motor unit was the place to be.  He was single, the bike was a babe magnet, and the $5.00 differential pay on top of $101.00 week this was all incentive to continue his motor career, even if he had to stuff his boots with cotton.  A few years into the motorcycle division assignment an opportunity arose to detach from the city of Sunrise Police department and to work on loan with the Broward Sheriff’s office (B.S.O.).  The assignment offered was to work in an undercover capacity as a narcotic officer.  Kotrady accepted the challenge, soon after the detachment Kotrady was direct by Lt Gary Ewing (B.S.O.) to complete an employment application to the Broward county sheriff’s office. Skip forward a few more years and Sheriff G Bresher of B.S.O. wanted to reinstate a motorcycle division. Sgt. Dennis Creamer and Lt. Gene Mize G. interviewed many applicants.  During the interview process Kotrady was told that his reputation precedes him, to his reply “I can explain that” he then started to explain that he was only in his late teens when he started police work and that some of the incidents were due to not being seasoned “.  The panel told Kotrady that they never heard anything negative about him; his reply was “well I can’t explain that” (laughing) he then proceeded to shake their hands and said “well I guess this interview is over!”  Kotrady then exited the room.  Dickenson, E Helman J Knight and Kotrady were selected; they were given the opportunity to be the first four Motor officers with the new reinstated Motor Unit under Sheriff Bresher.  Kurt later became the first BSO Certified Motor Instructor, Certified under IPTM (Institute of Police Training and Management). Kurt retired after 37 years of Law Enforcement, over 25 years of those years he was assigned to motors.  In his Motorman career he has ridden many motors such as the 1960s Haley-Davidson’s Electra-Glide, Kawasaki KZ 1000 Police, Harley-Davidson FXRP, Harley-Davidson Dyna’s, and Harley-Davidson Police Road Kings.

Sitting Duck, Tow Truck

By Dan Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department

I get sent to a minor wreck where both drivers have pulled into a parking lot. On arrival, one driver is drunk, both have their paperwork, no one is pissed nor a threat, and I don’t have to stand in the middle of a busy intersection to work the wreck. I call for the DUI Van, it shows up to do the drunk.

Life is good.

I call for a tow for the DUI vehicle, and lean against my Motor to start entering data. Tow shows up, and starts loading the drunks pickup. He’s in custody in the van, and I continue to type away on the wreck, while my Brothers in the van work the DUI.

Then I hear a “POP!” and hear someone screaming like an 8 year old girl that just saw her first kitten. Turns out it’s the tow driver, and I see my DUI’s Dodge Ram Pickup rolling off of the tow truck backwards a hell of a lot faster than it should be. I get my ass off of the bike, and start running, while calculating trajectory. Yeah. My Motor is a goner.

It misses my Motor by about a foot, the tow driver is so white he’s almost translucent, and he explains that the cable on his truck snapped, “That’s never happened before” says he.

Just glad I walked (and rode) away. Those that say football is a game of inches, have never worked Traffic..

Photo provided by Dan
Photo provided by Dan
Photo provided by Dan
Photo provided by Dan