Warren police may launch motorcycle division

By Ted Hayes
Posted 11/8/19

Warren Police Chief Peter Achilli hopes to start a motorcycle patrol division, saying the program will help reduce response time, allowing officers to get to many scenes faster and more effectively …

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Warren police may launch motorcycle division


Warren Police Chief Peter Achilli hopes to start a motorcycle patrol division, saying the program will help reduce response time, allowing officers to get to many scenes faster and more effectively than they can in squad cars, and will make officers more visible to and approachable by the public. He will bring his proposal before the Warren Town Council at its next meeting Tuesday night, Nov. 12.

The department has had motorcycles in the past, but according to Deputy Chief Roy Borges it has been at least 33 or more years since a motorcycle patrolled the town’s streets. Chief Achilli said starting a new program would help the town in a myriad of ways:

It will “enhance our efforts to continue serving the citizens/public in a more modern and community-oriented manner,” he wrote in a memo to the council.

“During my tenure … we have made strides to modernize our equipment and the overall mission has been directed toward the community.”

Though there is currently a bicycle patrol division, bicycle-based officers “cannot enforce speeding or other traffic violations due to the need for a mobile computer and a more rapid response and reaction time.”

A motorcycle officer “would have the ability to enforce speeding on narrow streets and confined areas of town,” the ability to patrol the bike path more effectively and just as importantly, “add to our connection with the public.”

“It has been proven that a police motorcycle attracts attention from pedestrians and makes them feel closer to the officer. The police motorcycle itself causes curiosity and starts conversations from members of the community that may not normally be apt to approach a police officer. These conversations may lead to valuable information or just reassure the community that we are listening to their needs and concerns.”

Nine Warren officers have motorcycle endorsements on their driver’s licenses, and the plan is to assign two officers to start. The department hopes to purchase two Harley Davidsons, either Road Kings or Electra Glides, and has $47,500 in its vehicle capital account that would cover their purchase.

Apart from that, start-up costs will be approximately $1,500 to $2,000 for each officer. Associated costs include:

* Helmets: Approximately $400 to $500

* Boots: $500 to $1,000

* Breeches: $250 to $500

* Gloves: $100 to $200

* Reflective uniform straps: $50

* Jackets: $250

Apart from the local improvements the program would bring, Chief Achilli wrote that establishing a motorcycle patrol would enhance the department’s Honor Guard. And other departments, including Bristol and Portsmouth, are part of a state-wide network of similar divisions that he would like to join.

“It would be a positive move if our motorcycle division could be a part of this statewide group, providing statewide exposure to our agency.”

The town would need no additional insurance under its policy with Rhode Island Interlocal Trust, as long as the officers have their proper motorcycle endorsements.

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