North Raleigh News

Wake Forest Police Department gets motorcycle patrol unit

The Wake Forest Police Department now has a motorcycle unit to patrol traffic and catch speeding drivers.

The department received a $85,000 grant from the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program. The money paid for two 2015 BMW motorcycles that hit the road about two weeks ago, said town spokesman Bill Crabtree.

Through the grant, police also got two mobile data terminals and two uniforms for the new motorcycle patrol officers.

“The Wake Forest Police Department is committed to maintaining safe driving conditions in our community,” Police Chief Jeff Leonard said in a news release. “Our new motor unit is intended to keep our roadways safe through both enforcement and education.”

Motorcycles are smaller and harder for drivers to spot, Leonard said in an email. He expects the motorcycles will allow officers to move quickly in an emergency and to easily detect drivers who break the law.

“Patrol cars tend to stand out when used in neighborhoods to monitor speeding and other traffic issues,” Leonard said. “Motorcycles are more effective because they aren’t as easy to spot.”

The new unit will focus on secondary roads and subdivisions.

In late May or early June, the two motorcycle officers will begin hosting and assisting other agencies in motorcycle safety classes, which include classroom and hands-on instruction.

Without the state money, a motorcycle unit in Wake Forest wouldn’t be possible right now, Crabtree said.

“Although the Police Department recognized the value of a motorcycle patrol unit, budgetary constraints likely would have prevented the department from introducing such a unit for several years,” he said in an email.

Two Wake Forest officers completed the required state training to operate the motorcycles through the State Highway Patrol’s training center.

The grant covered $1,000 associated with the training, and the Wake Forest Police Department’s training budget covered remaining costs, Crabtree said.

The N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program focuses on programming that helps to reduce the number of traffic crashes and fatalities around the state.

Hankerson: 919-829-4802;

Twitter: @mechelleh