The History of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department Motorcycle Unit
By Glen Glavic
The City of Fort Lauderdale celebrates its 100th birthday this year and its Police Department has been mobile on motorcycles nearly the entire time. The Fort Lauderdale Police Department Motorcycle Unit is currently comprised of a total of 9 riders including 1 supervisor. In the mod 90’s the unit was increased from 15 to a high of 27 at one point. FLPD Motor Unit regular duties have shifted from strictly traffic enforcement to include patrol of high crime areas as identified by crime analysis. The Motorcycle Officer are also used for numerous escorts, parades, static displays, demonstrations, civic/homeowner association events, school career days, and D.A.R.E. graduations. The unit is utilized to lead the many running events along with the yearly Fort Lauderdale marathon and half marathon. Over the years the unit has been instrumental with facilitating traffic flow for over 2 million visitors to the beach during Fort Lauderdale air and Sea Show. The unit also participates in traffic safety events with neighboring agencies in the tri-county area. Over the last quarter century the FLPD Motor Unit has been exclusively riding Harley-Davidson Motorcycles for police duty. Currently they ride 2010 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide motorcycles, in cost savings effort the city purchased these motorcycles last year moving away from the usual 2 year lease cycle.
In the early 80’s the motorcycle units supervisors and instructors began to take note of officer safety correlating injury causing crashes and mishaps to the lack of serious in service training. New motor officers will undergo a two week motor school followed by 4 to 8 weeks of riding and evaluation with an experienced motor officer trainer. All motor officers must attend monthly in-service training. With the growth of the South Florida area population there was a sharp increase in traffic and congestion. In addition Fort Lauderdale is a tourist destination and one can regularly find drivers from all over the world here on our streets. This condition created a greater need for continuous ongoing skills and accident avoidance training which is more important now then ever. With these training standards in place we hope to continue seeing motor officer accidents, injuries and its cost involved continue to diminish.
Information and Photos provided by the Fort Lauderdale, FL Police Department.