Officer Robert Dixon
The Traffic Division Motorcycle Detail has a stringent
training program. The initial process includes an application form, a Motorcycle Applicant Interview Worksheet, an oral interview, a pre training demonstration workshop, and finally an 80 hour training class, administered by the Traffic Division Training Staff.
The Motorcycle Applicant Interview Worksheet consists of 10 questions that cover topics related to the applicants desire to ride motorcycles, their current level of traffic enforcement activities, ability to work varied shift hours and extensive overtime hours, and their willingness to ride in inclement weather.
The oral interview is set up to cover the same basic issues that are addressed in the Interview worksheet, but allowing the applicant the opportunity to cover these issues verbally. This is also an opportunity for the interviewers to cover specific issues.
The Demonstration workshop is merely a day set aside for the potential trainees to observe firsthand what the 80 hour training course is, what exactly is required for passing the course, and to test the basic physical capabilities of each trainee in areas such as being able to pick the motorcycle up off the ground with the assistance of another person, and the ability to center stand the motorcycle alone. This demonstration day also gives potential trainees an opportunity to pull themselves from the training if they decide that continuing with the course is not in their best interests.
And finally, the 80 hour training course is offered, with the objective being to instill in the individual officer a confident knowledge of the performance potential of the police motorcycle and of his ability to operate it at its' optimum level, while creating a responsible awareness of the limitations of both the machine and its' rider.
Once an Officer has passed the course, and has transferred to the Traffic Division Motorcycle Detail, there are then biannual recertifications required of each Officer. This biannual recertification covers the same training requirements that are offered in the initial 80 hour training course, with each Officer being required to demonstrate a high level of proficiency with his/her motorcycle.
Motorcycle Applicant Interview Worksheet
The following details the 10 questions utilized on the Applicant Interview Worksheet:
- The Traffic Division works in support of the precincts to help citizens deal with traffic related complaints. Increasingly, we are required to partner with NLO's and other bureaus to work together on traffic complaints. This would include attending community meetings, roll calls at the precincts and working what may seem as "small problems" in neighborhoods. What experience do you have that would prepare you to work effectively in this area?
- Describe your normal traffic activity in your current assignment. Traffic officers are held to a specific minimum level of tracked work activity. Describe how you will maintain your level of activity.
- Physical appearance of uniforms, equipment and motorcycles is a priority in the Traffic Division. Describe your current efforts in this regard.
- Working traffic on a police motorcycle is very physically demanding. How have you prepared to ride eight (8) to twelve (12) hours per day? Sick time use? Physical Problems?
- Working the motorcycle detail involves long and varied hours. How are you prepared to work different shifts with a great deal of overtime including your weekends?
- Motorcycle officers ride in nearly all weather conditions. Have you ridden in inclement weather before? Explain why you are willing to do so for eight (8) to ten (10) hour shifts.
- Motorcycle training opportunities are limited and equipping a Motor Officer is expensive. If selected, are you willing to commit to a minimum of two (2) years even if the job is not what you expected?
- A Motor Officer is required to be self motivated and comfortable working alone and yet be able to function very effectively as a member of a well coordinated team during special events. Explain your experience that illustrates your ability to perform well in both modes.
- Why do you want to work in the Traffic Division? Why motorcycles?
- If selected, are you available for training?
80 Hour Motorcycle Training Course
The purpose of the 80 Hour training course is to provide Officers the opportunity, under controlled conditions, to gain the highest level of proficiency in safe police motorcycle operation so they may then concentrate these skills in the engagement of selective traffic enforcement and emergency response with a minimum of risk to themselves and to the public, whom through their actions, they protect and serve.
The training course includes approximately 15 hours of verbal classroom training, covering topics such as an orientation, key elements of safe riding and motorcycle safety. Then there are approx. 65 hours of actual motorcycle operation training time, with emphasis on clutch and braking technique, low speed handling techniques, high speed braking exercises, good surface appraisal techniques, team riding, street riding, off road riding, extensive cone pattern tests, and a final evaluation ride. At the conclusion of the 10th day of training, there is a final cone pattern test and evaluation.
Elements of the evaluation are:
- The trainee must be able to maintain a state of bodily equilibrium while operating the motorcycle during all phases of training.
- The rider must demonstrate the ability to be in control of the motorcycle mechanical apparatus, during training exercises that involve general operation, rough terrain, tight maneuvering and emergency situations.
- The ability of the rider to respond to the proper mechanical apparatus during training exercises, which reflects smooth operation of the motorcycle.
- The rider must demonstrate the ability to apply the proper amount of power, clutch, brake, speed and turning angle during operation of the motorcycle.
- The rider must reflect self confidence in his ability to operate the motorcycle in a proper fashion, involving all phases of training exercises.
Balance, control, judgment, coordination and self confidence are rated on an overall basis as to the candidates riding ability.