The 1st Knoxville Police Department Motor Unit was established in 1920 to help with the increased traffic problems that came along with the influx of automobiles inside the city limits. The 1st unit consisted of 5 Indian motors, 3 of those having sidecars. After using the Indian motors, KPD switched to Harley Davidson motors for several decades before moving to Kawasaki Motors around 1980. KPD Moved back to Harley Davidson shortly after the year 2000, and still ride Harley motors today.
The Motors were the 1st Officers at KPD to wear a shoulder patch on their uniform. The patch consisted of the "winged wheel", which is common among motor officers all over the country. The KPD Motor Unit has long gone by a special nick name. They are known as the "Blue Hawks". Around 1970, the unit wore a special patch on their uniform which detailed a blue hawk in flight. The unit no longer wears the patch, but each of their helmets and each bike has the design of the "Blue Hawk". The Blue Hawks are made up of Officers throughout the ranks of KPD who apply and pass the entrance test to be on the squad. In the unit's nearly 100 year history, there have only been two female KPD Officers to make the squad.
Although the unit's main duty is traffic control, they provide many more functions for the department. They are always called upon to escort high profile visitors such as the President, and other Heads of State. The unit is the escort for the University of Tennessee Football team at all of the home games held in Knoxville. Along with providing traffic escorts, the Blue Hawks also ride in every major parade in Knoxville. The Blue Hawks are a favorite of the spectators.