The Meaning of "The Winged Wheel"
The wheel and arrow patch dates to the early 1900s, when the motorcycle was introduced into the military. The military used patches to identify the unit and its role in service.
From what we have learned during the research is the Wheel was used to signify the Motorcycle, the type of "Motion”. Or unit.
The Arrow was added to show the Motorcycle was armed and could fight. The rider could shoot and was a precise shot. The arrow displayed the armor and "Precision" skill of the rider of both gun and machine.
After World War I the police department had adopted the patch form the riders of WWI. This seemed fitting because the Police Motor Officers were armed. Later departments added Traffic to the patch to show the type of enforcement the unit was used for.
Soon after the, wing was added to the to the Wheel and Arrow. The Wing signifies “Speed”. The motor officers at the time would chase down the speeder and jump onto the vehicle and force them to stop.
The Wings displays the Speed and danger involved in the job, the Swift jump to the vehicle from the speeding motorcycle. Some say after the jump you have earned your wings. Either by the patch for in death.
Todays Motor Unit Patch still displayed all three aspects of the job. The Motorcycle “Motion”, the Arrow being a “precise” shot or the agility of the motorcycle’s capabilities, The Wings the “Swift” speed of the motorcycle and the danger involved.
Motorcycle Officers earn the right to wear the Winged Wheel on there chest after they pass the hardest school in Law Enforcement. This patch is enriched with history and traditions that are still carried on today.
Motorcycle Officers must pass an 8-week training program to be a part of the motorcycle Unit or Squad. They must show proficiency in slow speed handling, High Speed handling, shooting from the motorcycle and the tactics of traffic enforcement, as well as traffic avoidance.
The Patch is usually worn on the sleeve with the arrow facing forward, or pointing to the heart of the officer to show the unit will move forward and evolve and how much it means to the officer and the department.
The Swift, Precise, Motion is today's Motorcycle Officer.
The Wing represents Swiftness
The Arrow Precision
The Wheel Motion
A Police Motorcycle is Swift Precise Motion
By. Sgt. J. Hughes
Dutchess County, NY Sheriff’s Office
The meaning of the Winged Wheel patch. I am often asked by people who
see it on my sleeve, what is the meaning of the Winged Wheel patch I
always reply, "straight as an arrow, free as a bird."
Lt Joseph F Tersak Jr
Pittsburgh, PA Police Department
The Wing Wheel Worn on Uniforms
Most agencies wear the wing wheel on the left sleeve under the department patch for short sleeve and on just above the cuff on long sleeve shirts.
The arrow on the left sleeve should point to the officer. On the right sleeve it should point to the officer.
The Winged Wheel in the late 1920's Denver, CO Police Department Motor Unit
On the Cuff long sleeve
On short Sleeve (Right Side)