Bikes haven’t been a part of the Douglas County (Neb.) police fleet in the last 40 years. However, this year sees the return of the motorcycle unit.
The plan to get the motorcycles began in December of 2018, with approvals and orders made in January of this year, Sergeant Tim Owens, head of the traffic unit, said. The Sheriff’s Office received them in April, and they were out patrolling by May. The rest of the fleet consists of mostly Ford SUVs, Dodge Chargers, four Ford F-150s, and an F-250 truck.
The new motorcycle unit, which features two BMW bikes chosen for their safety and diverse features, has been helpful throughout the summer as it was used to patrol 20 events. Owens said the bikes easily maneuver around high-density areas due to their small stature, which is beneficial due to the urban layout of Douglas County.
The two motorcycles are maintained by the dealership, and a plan to purchase two more is in the works.
Members of the traffic unit have access to the bikes; however, anyone who operates the bikes must attend an 80-hour training session that happens once a year, Owens said.
Owens added that the motorcycles are an effective tool in traffic enforcement and have proven to create a better dynamic between law enforcement and civilians.
“When the bikes are out patrolling, we have seen that they are more approachable. They get attention, and it's easier for people to come up and spark conversation,” Owens said.