The Evansville Police Department Motorcycle Unit was re-established on April 1, 2002 after being phased out some 34 years ago in 1968. The Motorcycle Unit currently consists of four Harley Davidson Police Motorcycles. The officers are referred to as Police Motor Officers and make up the department’s Traffic Enforcement Unit. The Traffic Enforcement Unit is part of the Special Operation Section and falls under the command of the Patrol Division. The officers assigned to this unit operate the police motorcycles year round, in favorable weather conditions. The officers are also issued marked take-home police cars to utilize when they are unable to ride their motorcycles. The re-establishing of this unit has given the Evansville Police Department another valuable tool with which to serve the citizens of Evansville.
The primary function of the Traffic Enforcement Unit is to enforce state traffic laws and city ordinances. The traffic officers also respond to calls for service when needed. They are responsible for escorts, parades, large festivals and details and even some road race events.
Each Officer assigned to the Traffic Enforcement Unit must pass an intense two-week police motor officer training course prior to being assigned to the unit. This course consists of negotiating many different obstacles from very slow speeds to very fast, braking maneuvers, curve negotiation, off road riding, crash avoidance and pair riding. The officers continue to train throughout the year to maintain and improve their riding skills.
Officers Hands and Matthews are Police Motorcycle Instructors and have trained over fifty motor officers from throughout Indiana and Kentucky during an annual eighty hour motor officer school that the department hosts each April.
Each officer in the unit is equipped with a LIDAR laser speed detection device to use in enforcing speed limits in school zones, construction zones and problem areas where complaints are called in. The traffic enforcement officers also use mounted moving radar on each motorcycle and hand held Doppler radar.
Officers in the Traffic Unit have been involved in several V.I.P. escorts including President Barrack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham-Clinton, the United States Navy Blue Angels, United States Army Golden Knights and the Canadian Forces Snow Birds. In May 2009 the Evansville Police Department’s Traffic Enforcement Unit was invited to Washington, D.C. for National Police Week to assist in providing escorts to the survivors of police officers killed in the line of duty.