The History of the Nevada Highway Patrol Motorcycle Unit
In 1966, Superintendent Don F. Brown added motorcycles to the Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP) fleet. At that time, they were only used in Las Vegas for traffic enforcement on the Las Vegas Strip and in areas where selective enforcement was needed. The two 1966 Harley Davidson motorcycles were received from the Reno Harley Davidson dealer. They were the Electra Glide model in metallic blue.
In late 1970, the NHP’s two motorcycle patrolman took the motorcycles to the California Highway Patrol’s two-week course. After returning to Las Vegas, the two-man motorcycle unit became a five-man unit. By 1972, the motorcycle program had extended to Northern Nevada with motorcycles assigned to Carson City and Reno. In 1974, a patrolman was involved in a crash when his motorcycle hit a patch of ice near Lake Tahoe. The use of motorcycles was soon discontinued statewide for over a decade.
In July of 1988, the Nevada Highway Patrol re-introduced the motorcycle as an enforcement vehicle. It had been 14 years since the last motorcycles were used. The new program consisted of four Troopers riding Kawasaki 1000’s. They were deployed exclusively on the highways around Las Vegas.
The motorcycle program continued with the Kawasaki bikes through the 1990’s. In the late 1990’s, the NHP purchased BMW 1100RT-P motorcycles. In 2007 and 2009, the Nevada Highway Patrol purchased Harley Davidson motorcycles for the Las Vegas region. 2009 BMW 1150RT-P motorcycles were purchased for the Reno region. Several 2011 Kawasaki’s were utilized in both Las Vegas and Reno. In 2014, Harley Davidsons were purchased for both regions in the state. As of early 2018, Las Vegas Troopers still ride the Harley Davidson motorcycles. BMW motorcycles are currently on order for the Reno area and will be deployed within the year.
Information and Photos provided by the Nevada Highway Patrol