Police Motor Units
The History of Motorcycle Law Enforcement

 "Virtual Museum"

 

 

 

 

Louisiana State Police


The Louisiana State Police originally started in 1922 as the Louisiana Highway Commission. The patrolman that composed the Commission were all motorcycle patrolman.  The state was divided into 10 districts. Eight of the districts were assigned one lone motorcycle patrolman. The Baton Rouge district was manned with two motorcycle patrolman and New Orleans was manned with three. Two additional patrolmen cruised the main highways of the state. These 15 men and one Captain, who also served as superintendent of the force, patrolled the state’s 2700 miles of roads and watched over 102,000 motor vehicles in Louisiana.  Patrolman owned their own bikes and maintained them with a small allowance from the State.

In 1932, the La Highway Commission became known as the Highway Patrol.  Famous Louisiana Governor Huey P. Long extensively used the motorcycle patrolman as his bodyguards, who escorted him all over the state.  In 1936, an act of the Louisiana Legislature created what is now known as the Louisiana State Police. Motorcycles were the primary means of transportation for patrolman up until this point, numbering over 40. By 1939, troopers in cars and on motorcycles were patrolling almost 2 million miles a year. It was in this year that State Police was divided into 8 “Troops”.

In 1948, the State Police motorcycle fleet numbered 36.  The department began to rely  more on the automobile for patrol and it was not long before State Police motorcycles were found only in New Orleans and other major population centers. Motorcycle patrol units still were maintained throughout the 1950s.  Governor Earl Long routinely used numerous State Police motorcycles for his motorcade as he traveled around the state. In the 1960s, State Police was utilizing cars, motorcycles, planes and helicopters for enforcement.

Throughout its history, State Police has used Harley Davidson motorcycles for patrol. It wasn’t until the 1980s that the department switched briefly to Kawasakis.  Shortly thereafter, the motorcycle patrol program was disbanded.  It wasn’t until 1997 that a true motorcycle patrol unit was reformed and Harley Davidson’s once again became the bikes of choice.  Today there are 24 Harley Davidson Road King motorcycles patrolling the highways of Louisiana with 24 full-time motor troopers and 4 part-time motor troopers riding them.

 

Harley Davidson Electra Glide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harley Davidson Police Road King Troop -L

 

Harley Davidson Police Road King Troop -L


Photos and Information provided by the Louisiana State Police Public Affairs Unit.