The History of the Amherst Police Department Motorcycle Unit
Beginning in 2001, the Amherst Police Department initiated a Motorcycle Patrol Unit to augment the Department’s traffic enforcement efforts. The primary focus of the Motorcycle Unit is to address speeding and other moving violations which become an increasing issue of concern during spring, summer, and early fall. Due to its size and maneuverability, the Department’s motorcycle officers are able to more efficiently enforce safe speeds and correct driver behavior. The motorcycle is also capable of standing in for a police cruiser on routine patrol; however, every effort is made ensure staffing levels which allow our motorcycle officers to dedicate their entire shift exclusively to speed and moving violation enforcement. Currently, three officers are assigned to the Motorcycle Unit. Before being accepted into the Motorcycle Unit, each officer undergoes an intensive training program which tests the limitations of both the vehicle and the rider. Only upon successful graduation from the training program are officers allowed to become a member of the Motorcycle Patrol Unit. In addition to specialized patrol functions, the motorcycle is particularly useful and a popular attraction at parades, road races, and other town events.
From 2001 through 2014, the Department utilized a Harley Davidson Road King police motorcycle which has long been the standard across New Hampshire and surrounding states. However, in late 2014 the Department began discussions with BMW in an effort to change platforms to the newly designed 2015 BMW R1200RT-P police motorcycle. With no BMW presence in the New Hampshire police market, these discussions and negotiations took several months and included a visit and demonstration by the head of the BMW Police Motors Research and Development team from New Jersey in January of 2015. Amherst officers put the vehicle through its paces, and the benefits of this new BMW became readily apparent. Ultimately, the Department became first police agency in the state to change to the BMW platform, and took delivery of the new motorcycle in May of 2015 (the Department granted a request from BMW to put the vehicle on display at the June 2015 New Hampshire Chiefs of Police Expo in Manchester in order to announce BMW’s new presence in the New Hampshire police market).
From a community policing standpoint, the police motorcycle provides increased accessibility to Amherst’s officers who are frequently approached by residents during the course of their shift. Officers of the Motorcycle Unit take great pride in their position and their ability to reach out directly to citizens.
Information and Photos provided by the Amherst, NH Police Department.