The History of the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office Motorcycle Unit
By MPO Greg Deeds / Harrisonburg Police Department
Rockingham County is located in the center of the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Nestled between the Blue Ridge Mountains on the east and the Alleghenies on the west, the County is located along the Interstate 81 corridor and only a 2-hour drive to Washington, DC. Rockingham County is the third largest county in Virginia with 853 square miles and encompasses the Harrisonburg-Rockingham metropolitan area; nicknamed Virginia’s Turkey Capital because of the area’s large poultry industry (Wikipedia).
The Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office is a full service law enforcement agency. The Sheriff employs approximately 170 full-time and part-time deputies to provide services in the areas of Corrections, Operations, Investigations, and Administrative Services (2008).
*The Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office became an accredited agency on May 26, 2005 by the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission.
In 2000 Sheriff Donald W. Farley began planning the implementation of the Sheriff’s Office first Motor Unit. The projected budget to equip two deputies with motorcycles, equipment, and uniforms was approximately $28,000 (2001).
In September 2001 after completing Fairfax County Police’s Basic Motor School, Deputy Rodney L. Morris and M. Andy Muncy took to the road riding their 2002 Harley Davidson Police Road King Motorcycles. Rockingham participated in Harley’s Police Lease Program from 2001- 2007, however Sheriff Farley made the decision in 2008 to purchase their police motors with plans to increase the Unit from two to four deputies when monies become available. Rockingham Co. Motor Officers usually operate nine months out of the year weather permitting; Motor Deputies are also issued standard sheriff’s office patrol vehicles for inclement weather use.
The Sheriff’s Office and Harrisonburg Police Motor Officers often work together in performing funeral, parade, motorcycle benefit ride, Virginia Torch Run escorts and special traffic enforcement details such as the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles’ Click It or Ticket and Checkpoint Strikeforce programs. Deputies and city officers regularly attend the Mid-Atlantic Police Motorcycle Safety Competition and the Chesapeake Bay Police Motorcycle Rodeo & Skills Competition.
Rockingham County Motor Officers primarily answer traffic complaints such as speeding in neighborhoods throughout the county, school bus complaints and are responsible for the placement of the departmental speed display trailer. They also are tasked with performing traffic analysis using the Decatur Speed Spy traffic analysis equipment, thus freeing up other deputies for patrol duties.
Due to promotions the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office Motor Unit is now staffed by Deputy Craig T. Herring and Mike W. Myers after their graduation from the Portsmouth VA Police Department Basic Motor School in October 2008.
Information and Photos provided by MPO Greg Deeds of Harrisonburg Police Department with permission of Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office.