SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — One local police department is ramping up its patrols, with the addition of a new motorcycle unit.
The Siloam Springs Police Department launched its motorcycle unit this week. It’s starting with two bikes with plans to add more within the next few years.
Captain Scott Miller says each bike cost about $24,000. When you add the emergency equipment, handheld radar units, safety gear, officer attire it brings the price tag to about $32,000. It was all covered by the department’s sales tax-funded revenue approved by the city.
Miller says the motorcycle unit will be a huge compliment to the patrol division and offers the department unique capabilities.
“The goal is to reduce traffic accidents, reduce the amount of speeding and stuff we see on 412, hazardous violations – as well as providing another mechanism to give back to our community,” said Miller
For the officers to be part of the motorcycle units they have to go through a two-week intensive training to learn how to operate the bikes. They navigate cone courses, learn to balance, travel at high speeds, low speeds to name a few. Once they pass they are certified.
The Siloam Springs police department tells me part of starting this unit was identifying the officers who would be able to meet the demands of enforcing the law on bikes.
Officer Nate Vanpaepeghem and Officer James Bond are kicking off the motorcycle unit for the department.
The officers tell me the training is tough physically and mentally but in the end, they are able to maneuver through the city more efficiently and can respond to emergency situations much faster.
“We can do things that the cars can’t do, we can navigate traffic better to get to the violations that we need to and with the calls that we are going to be taking. It alleviates a lot of the stress from the patrol division,” said Vanpaepeghem.
The officers will focus on traffic-related demands for the department. However, the motorcycle unit will also help with funeral escorts, parades, and other community events.
So far the department tells us it is getting positive feedback from the community and cant wait to grow the unit.