The History of the Les Vegas Metro Police Department Motorcycle Unit
Traffic enforcement in the Las Vegas Valley has been primarily accomplished by Police Officers and Deputy Sheriffs riding motorcycles for 70 + years. During that time the number of traffic officers and types of motorcycles they rode has changed many times.
The City of Las Vegas Police Department patrolled the City Limits of Las Vegas and was the first agency in the valley to incorporate motorcycles into traffic enforcement, sometime in the 1930’s. Both two wheeled and three wheeled bikes were in-service, with the three wheeled bikes being used for parking enforcement. The makes of bikes varied over time with both Harley Davidson and Indian motorcycles being used. Prior to consolidation the City of Las Vegas Police rode all Harley Davison Electra-Glide Police Specials. As of July 1, 1973 there were approximately 32 Police Officers and Supervisors riding motorcycles for the City of Las Vegas Police.
The Clark County Sheriffs Office incorporated motorcycles into their enforcement fleet in the 1960’s, with two bikes and two Deputies patrolling the unincorporated area of Clark County. As time progressed more Deputies were added to the traffic unit along with supervisors. There were approximately 26 motorcycles being used at the time of consolidation. The Sheriffs Office rode several models of bikes during their tenure prior to July 1, 1973. They included Harley Davidson, Honda and Motoguzzi. By the time of consolidation they were riding strictly Harley Davidson Electra-Glide Police Specials.
On July 1, 1973 both agencies consolidated to become the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and patrolled both the unincorporated area of Clark County as well as the City Limits of Las Vegas. The Traffic Bureau had 58 Officers and supervisors all riding Harley Davidson motorcycles during this period. In 1977 the Traffic Bureau acquired two Kawasaki 900 Police Bikes for evaluation. By 1978 the Department was changing over the entire fleet to the latest new Kawasaki 1000 Police Special motorcycle. The Kawasaki’s were rode by LVMPD till 1985 when Harley Davidson introduced the new FXRP Police bike. Which resulted in the Traffic Bureau having a mixed fleet of bikes with both Harley Davidson’s and Kawasaki’s for the next five years. In 1990 LVMPD did away with the Harley Davidson’s and converted the entire fleet back to Kawasaki 1000 Police Special motorcycles. By the mid 90’s the entire Traffic Bureau was again being converted back to the Harley Davidson FLH Police Special. Traffic was 100% Harley Davidson with one exception, a 2000 BMW Police bike that was purchased for evaluation. That BMW was rode by one officer till his retirement, and then it was retired to be sold at a public auction.
2008 is the 35th anniversary of LVMPD. The Traffic Division today has approximately 153Traffic Officers riding the latest production FLH Harley Davidson Police Specials on the streets, roads and freeways of Southern Nevada.
“American Iron and John Law”
Information and Photos provided by the Las Vegas Metro, NV Police Department.