The History of the Missouri City Police Motorcycle Unit
The Missouri City Police Department’s Motorcycle Unit began operations in June 2014. The idea of creating a motorcycle unit in the Missouri City Police Department began in 2007 after a Missouri City Councilmember at the time suggested it the police chief. The councilmember had seen the positive impact a motorcycle unit had on other municipalities, especially on traffic enforcement operations and traffic crash reduction efforts. The police chief at the time was not in favor of a motorcycle unit and dismissed the councilmember’s suggestion.
In 2009, the City of Missouri City hired a new chief of police. The new chief of police had previously worked for a large police agency in the northeastern United States and knew the value of a specialized unit like this would have, especially on traffic enforcement operations and vehicle crash reduction efforts. The councilman Kolaja approached the newly hired chief of police about the formation of the motorcycle.
In 2012, the chief of police assigned one of his assistant police chiefs of police to begin a project to research the formation of motorcycle unit and if feasible, develop a proposal for its formation and implementation. The council member who originally suggested the idea, had left the council, but other council members were supportive of the program if within the fiscal means for the City of Missouri City to begin and maintain the program long term.
The Missouri City Motorcycle Unit consisting of five motorcycles received City Council authorization in 2013. City Council had just approved tax increase on the platform that the increase would go toward public safety projects. The City of Missouri City was experiencing an approximate 50% increase of traffic crashes from 2012 to 2013 and motorcycle unit was projected to contribute to the reduction of this trend.
Sergeant Tracy Cox was selected to command the newly formed motorcycle unit. After a stringent selection process in March 2014 selected Police Officers Michael Bukowski, Robert Lawson, Ben Lampe and Brian Norwood to serve on the motorcycle unit. All members of the unit had to successfully complete advanced level vehicle collision investigation courses and travel to Tucson, Arizona to train at the Victory Police Motorcycle training site. The newly formed team rode the motorcycles back to Texas after completing the 80 hours of intensive police motor officer training in Arizona.
Missouri City’s new motorcycle unit officially began operations on Monday, June 16, 2014. In addition to proactively patrolling the streets of Missouri City conducting traffic enforcement operations and investigating vehicle crashes, the team also works collaboratively with traffic engineers to identify roadway designs that may be creating circumstances that lend themselves to an increased likelihood of vehicle crashes. Numerous traffic control features have modified, removed or added virtually eliminating vehicle crashes as areas the motorcycle unit identified as being problem road designs.
The Missouri City Police Department uses statistical data and analysis to determine high vehicle crash areas and traffic violation areas, the motorcycle unit is the unit assigned to address these community danger issues. Employing both educational and enforcement strategies, the Missouri City Police Motorcycle Unit has been successful in their vehicle crash reduction efforts, especially in the designated “Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety (DDACTS) areas. In 2017, the designated DDACTS area saw an 8.75% reduction of vehicle crashes when compared to 2016. Working with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) since 2014 the motorcycle unit also provides traffic safety education training to the general public. Also, since 2014 the unit has worked with the Union Pacific Railroad to conduct railroad grade crossing safety education training and enforcement operations.
In January 2015 the unit partnered with the City of Missouri City’s Public Works and Streets Departments to create a traffic safety team to continue to identify roadway improvements that could contribute to crashes.
Since 2015, the motorcycle unit’s RADAR and LIDAR instructors took on the responsibility providing RADAR and LIDAR training for the police department and other area police officers who attend training in the Missouri City Police Department’s State approved training provider site. .
The unit continues to work alongside the Missouri City Police Department Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to conduct commercial vehicle safety operations.
A first for the Missouri City Police Department was the application for a traffic safety grant, via the Texas Strategic Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) by the unit in 2016. The STEP grant is still in effect addressing high crash rate areas of Missouri City.
The unit is currently transitioning from the Victory Police Motorcycle to the Harley Davidson Police Motorcycle. Victory Police Motorcycles are no longer in production and Harley Davidson has greatly improved their product creating a circumstance for a much better vehicle for the unit to carry out their responsibilities to the citizens of Missouri City.
Officer Jessica Berry was selected in 2016 to join the unit after the retirement of one of the original team members. Officer Berry brings specialized skills to the unit. She is Drug Recognition Expert (DRE), and an instructor for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) /Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) investigations, a certified Accident Reconstructionist. She is also one of the first female motorcycle officers in Fort Bend County, Texas and rarity Nationwide for this type of specialty..
The highly esteemed Motorcycle Unit has consistently set the bar high for the rest of the Missouri City Police Department.