The History of the Brillion Police Department Motorcycle Unit
The Brillion Police Department became involved with the Harley-Davidson Motor cycle lease program while attending the Wisconsin Chief’s of Police Association conference in 1999 when as Police Captain; I was looking for a new way to get closer to the Citizens of Brillion. We had just gone through a period where relations with the Police Department had not been going well. The City was in the process of a study of the department being conducted by the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.
One of the epiphany moments was that Brillionite’s didn’t feel the police were approachable. They saw the car go by but didn’t feel that they had a connection with the patrol officer. The fix was easy once I saw that big shiny motorcycle sitting in the display at the conference. I talked with the staff and learned that I didn’t have to buy the bike. I could have one on a lease program. Now that was just like winning the lottery for me. I could now solve one of my most obvious problems and it wouldn’t impact my budget.
It was all down hill from there. I had taken the big step and ordered our first bike. The 2000 Road King arrived in time for our big summer community event. The success of the bike was so overwhelming that I had a hard time wiping the smile off of my face.
When my guys used it to work traffic details the topic of conversation always moved from the violation to “Nice bike!” People didn’t car why they were stopped, just that they had an opportunity to look the bike over and smile. Since the Road King, we moved to the Electra Glide and it more closely matches our cars. We have been in the program with Harley for 10 years new and the newness never seems to wear off.
The Brillion Officers have developed some of their own programs and have received accolades from the community for their efforts. One in particular is where they show up at quick stops at closing time and see that employees make it safely to their vehicles to drive home. They showed up early one evening and just as a car load of armed robbery suspects left the gas station in far too big a hurry, the Harley was there to meet them. The Officer pursued the crooks at nearly 100 miles per hour until additional units could converge and was instrumental in the apprehension of the suspects and recovery of the stolen money. I guess the suspects didn’t expect a small town police department to have a mounted patrol.
Brillion and the Fox Valley area of Wisconsin is a big motorcycle fan area. There have been more than a few times where we have had problems with bikes in the Brillion area but it seems like the negative contacts have gone down exponentially with the appearance of the Brillion police bike. Somehow we all seem to get along better. There is a kind of respect between Harley riders and we no longer have any big issues and the small ones just seem to be resolved with less effort.
More often these days, it seems like large fund raising motorcycle rides come through our city, now that we have a police bike. We receive requests from all over the area to display the Brillion bike at business functions, respect for law days, National Night Out, area parades and many of the large rides request the Brillion bike to lead the event. Our bike has been to Washington DC to the Law Enforcement memorial ceremonies and many in the Wisconsin area. We lost one of our own who was murdered by a cop hater who rammed her squad while she was training with the Hobart police department on July 22, 2002. Officer Stephanie Markins was a Harley rider but kidded that the seat was too high on our patrol bike. She said the guys were all too long legged. Our bike carries a memorial to Stephanie on the trunk lid. The Brillion bike always leads the memorial ride for Stephanie and FTO Officer Robert (Bob) Etter who was also killed in the same attack.
Recently we helped obtain a supply of Harley Davidson hand cuff keys for a local soldier and his company who are deployed to Taji Iraq assigned to security. The soldier’s responsibilities include the searching and hand-cuffing of almost 300 detainees a night. The keys the soldiers were using were the usual 1 inch long key which was extremely difficult to use. Harley Davidson helped out with the donation of a supply of keys for the U.S. soldiers.
Earlier this year Staff Sergeant Cody Krepline was deployed to Taji Iraq for his second tour of duty. Cody and his company were assigned to security. As such, part of every soldier’s responsibilities includes the searching, unhand-cuffing and rehand-cuffing of almost 300 detainees a night. When working with this many detainees every second saved and security measure taken is invaluable. It was quickly realized that the short hand-cuff keys they had were not nearly as efficient as the full length keys. The longer keys are much easier to use while wearing search gloves and greatly increase their efficiency and safety. The superior design of the longer key allows the soldier to spend less time focused on the manipulation of the key and stay fully aware of their surroundings.
Cody Krepline developed a friendship with many of the Brillion Police Department officers while he attended Brillion High School and has remained close with many of the officers today. Shortly after being deployed he mentioned to Captain Mignon the problem they were having with the handcuff keys. Mignon went to Chief Alloy to see if there was anything the department could do to assist our service men and women. Years ago Chief Alloy began working with Harley Davidson and had received a full size handcuff key from Harley Davidson. These were exactly what Krepline’s company needed. Chief Alloy made some phone calls to the Harley representative who was willing to help out.
On July 15, 2009 Chief Dan Alloy and the Brillion Police Department presented Staff Sergeant Cody Krepline with 30 long hand cuff keys for his company in return Cody presented the Department with an American Flag flown over the 508th Military Police Battalion Headquarters on July 4, 2009 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. A flag was also flown for Harley Davidson for their headquarters.
The Company commander stated “Although there exists a humanitarian component to our mission, our primary focus is on the safety of our soldiers and the security of the facility.”
It might strike some as ironic to find out that a company, whose fundamental values are rooted in the glory and beauty of freedom, is making a bulk order of items used to restrain and detain. However, it turns out that this donation of 30 hand-cuff keys is a shining example of Harley- Davidson’s sponsorship of freedom, patriotism, and the American way of life.
We, the soldiers of 1st Platoon, Alpha Battery 1-121st Field Artillery, from Racine, WI, would like to express our appreciation of the generous donation that is being provided to us by Harley-Davidson and the Brillion Police Department. Two months ago we assumed the mission of the TIFRC Services Guard Force in Camp Taji, Iraq. The focus of our mission is to provide security, logistical support and overall operational management for the detainee education and rehabilitation complex within the Camp Taji Theater Internment Facility. It is inspiring and motivating to know that we are working at the heart of the mission to develop Iraq into a safe and self-sustaining nation.
Information and Photos provided by Chief of Police Daniel Alloy, Brillion, WI Police Department