The History of the Washington DC Metro Police Department Motorcycle Unit
Historical Background of the Metropolitan Police Department, (MPD) Washington, D.C. In 1790, Maryland and Virginia ceded portions of their territory for the purpose of establishing the Federal City. For the next 10 years, the Federal City was policed by constables appointed by these two states. In 1802, when the original charter of Washington was approved, police authority was centralized and power was granted to the city itself to establish patrols, impose fines, and establish inspection and licensing procedures. Until the creation of the Metropolitan Police Department in 1861, the city had only an auxiliary watch with one captain and 15 policemen. Today the MPD has grown in diversity as well as size, with a sworn force of almost 4000 members. The members of the Metropolitan Police Department strive to uphold a proud tradition of excellence. The MPD continues to be an exemplary department which often serves as both host and teacher to police officials from around the world.
The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) began using motorcycles in 1912 as motorized transportation became more widely available. Motorcycles replaced horses as a primary mode of travel for police officers in the city. Sidecars were added to the motorcycles in 1932. In the earlier years, motormen rode with their partners in the side cars.
The motorcycles are used to escort the President and Vice President of the United States of America. The motorcycles are also used to escort foreign kings, presidents and dignitaries from all over the world. Due to their maneuverability, these motorcycles also facilitate mass demonstrations throughout Washington, D.C.
The current model of motorcycle utilized is the Harley Davidson FLHTP. The department currently has a fleet of 40 motorcycles. Presently the sidecars are used throughout the winter months during inclement weather for stability. The sidecars are installed in November and removed in March after the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.
Requirements To Become A Member of the Motor Unit: Must be a member of the MPD in good standing, with a minimum of three years of service, must complete a timed skilled riding course and interview process. Those selected must have or be willing to complete and successfully pass 120 hours of rigorous motorcycle and sidecar training.
Information and Photos provided by the Washington DC Metropolitan Police Department