Motorcycle Unit History

In 1908 the city of Detroit Michigan took delivery of the first police motorcycles laying the foundation for the use of Police Motor Units in Law Enforcement history. Steeped in tradition and function, a police motor unit Officer is a highly trained motorcycle rider schooled in very technical riding skills. Emergency driving along with slow speed excessive turning and mobility skills are required in order to achieve the Motors Officer Certification. The current model motorcycle used by the Londonderry Police Department is the Harley-Davidson Electra Glide.

Motorcycle Patrol Vehicles


Riding skills together with a uniform designed for riding safety makes a motor officer easily distinguishable from a regular patrol officer. The breeches style pants are double lined wool pants that protect against "road rash" should a rider go down. High boots help protect the legs from heat and also help protect the ankles and feet from injury in the event of a crash. A reflective uniform shirt or reflective cross straps accentuate the visibility of the rider from all angles. A safety helmet equipped with earpieces and a microphone wired to the radio, allows the officer to not only hear radio transmissions, but speak clearly in a loud and often windy environment.

Officer on Motorcycle

Utilizing the Unit

A motorcycle unit is primarily utilized for traffic control functions. A motorcycle can easily slip through heavy traffic and reach a crash scene. A motorcycle is also able to park virtually anywhere to allow the officer to observe traffic for speeding drivers or directed patrols. The versatility and maneuverability of a motorcycle also allows for patrols in areas not reachable by a traditional cruiser such as between buildings and remote areas like the rail trail. Lastly, Motor Officers are also heavily utilized for:

  • Community policing events
  • Escorts of dignitaries
  • Funeral processions 
  • Memorials
  • Parades

It is with historic pride the Londonderry Police Department maintains an active Police Motors Unit.

Motorcyle Unit