The History of the Las Cruces Police Department Motorcycle Unit
Then & Now
Submitted by Sgt. Joe Triste
The City of Las Cruces is the second largest city in New Mexico after Albuquerque and is home to the famous Organ Mountains. Interstate 10 and Interstate 25 run through the city, bordered by El Paso, TX and within 50 to 60 miles of the Mexican border in two directions. The population of Las Cruces has grown to 100,000 the last few years, and the department maintained a staff of 191 commissioned officers. Because of the newly established Spaceport America within the city’s County of Dona Ana, a population increase is predicted in the near future.
In October 1947, the Las Cruces Police Department added two motorcycle officers with an emphasis on enforcing strict traffic laws, including speed limits of 15 mph in school zones and 25 mph zones elsewhere with in the city limits. Over the years, the Traffic Section’s motor unit has grown to 12. The Motor unit is comprised of one lieutenant, two sergeants and nine officers.
Harley-Davidson Police motorcycles are the motorcycle of choice for LCPD. Some motor officers attended the Police Motorcycle School offered by Northwestern University Traffic Institute, in Albuquerque, NM. In 2002 LCPD sent two officers to instructor training through NUCPS. Motor officers Joe Triste and John Trujillo were the first certified Police Motorcycle instructors for LCPD and also assist in training other local law enforcement agencies.
Barnett’s Harley-Davidson is the dealership in Las Cruses, and the service and hospitality the department has received from Barnett’s has been a plus to the unit. Service Manager Scott Logston has given has exceptional service. Jis expertise with Harley-Davidson motorcycles is outstanding. The department’s FLHTP Harley-Davidson Electra Glide motorcycles are replaced every year through an agreement with Barnett’s.
The motor unit’s primary duties are crash investigations and traffic law enforcement, although they are involved in any incident where needed. All motor officers have been to the Crash Reconstruction series either through NUCPS or IPTM. They pride themselves in being involved with the community through special events, parades, funeral escorts, dignitary protection & escorts, marathons and motorcycle runs such as the annual “Toys for Kids” during the Christmas season. Every year a team of four participates in the Southwest Police Motorcycle Rodeo Training Competition held in Arizona or Nevada.
Information and Photos provided by the Las Cruces, NM Police Department
This article can be found in the Harley-Davidson’s “The Motor Officer” Spring 2014.