Police Motor Units
The History of Motorcycle Law Enforcement

 "Virtual Museum"





Missouri Highway Patrol

On October 5, 1931 the first Highway Patrol  recruit class began six weeks of intensive training at the St. Louis Police Training Academy.  Upon completion of training, each man was signed to one of six troops located in various parts of the state.  they were given one week to prepare their move to their assigned locations.  The six troop headquarters were:  Troop A, Kansas City; Troop B, Macon; Troop C, Kirkwood; Troop D, Joplin; Troop E Sikeston; and Headquarters Troop, Jefferson City.  A captain was placed in charge of each troop.  The captain serving Jefferson City was not only the commander of Headquarters Troop, but the executive officer for the entire department.


The motor vehicle fleet for these first patrolmen consisted of 36 new Model A Ford Roadsters, a Ford sedan, a Plymouth sedan, and Oldsmobile, a Buick, three Chevrolets, and 12 Harley Davidson, three Indian, and two Henderson motorcycles.  The Roadsters, which cost $413.18 each, had twin Klaxon horns, a spotlight, a fire extinguisher, a first aid kit, and an electric "Patrol" sign behind the right side of the windshield.  All vehicles had license plates with the words "State Patrol" in bold letters but there were no decals on the sides.  None of the vehicles had sirens and there were no heaters in the cars.


The use of motorcycles for regular patrol was discontinued;



The Highway Patrol's Safety Squadron was organized in April.  The squadron toured the state working traffic by selective enforcement and promoting traffic safety.  The squadron fleet consisted of 13 white motorcycles, one white Ford coupe with house trailer, four white panel trucks and two white coaches.  Members of the squadron had radio communications with one another and the nearest troop headquarters.

The Patrol Safety Squadron was organized in 1940



Six Harley Davidson motorcycles were purchased in August 1971.  They were used on special details such as fairs, parades, and for traffic control in congested areas. 


(Photo provided by Ward)


(Photo provided by Ward)


(Photo provided by Ward)


12 new Kawasaki 1000cc motorcycles were placed into service, increasing the motorcycle fleet to 18, with two assigned to each troop.  Cyclist were instructed to work in pairs and use the bikes in enforcement in good weather and in daylight.

1979 Kawasaki KZ 1000 (Photo provided by Ward)


1979 Kawasaki KZ 1000 (Photo provided by Ward)


1979 Kawasaki KZ 1000 (Photo provided by Ward)


1979 Kawaski KZ 1000 Police


The Patrol retired its last two motorcycles from its fleet in February 1996.  The Kawasaki police motorcycles had been stationed in the Troop A area and had been used for parades and special details such as the State Fair and as escorts for the Olympic torch.  One of the two motorcycles was placed on display in the Patrol's Safety Education Center.



1979 Kawaski KZ 1000 Police
2011 Harley-Davidson Electra-Glide

Photos and Information provided by Missouri State Highway Patrol