Sugar Land, TX News (July 2, 2014) - On Monday, June 16, Missouri City’s new five-person motorcycle unit officially began patrolling City streets and neighborhoods. Created as a way to stealthily target traffic violators, the new motorcycle unit allows the City’s dedicated patrol vehicles to concentrate on watching City subdivisions and businesses.
Members of the Missouri City Police Department have identified areas within the City where frequent traffic violations occur; members of the motorcycle unit will be used not only as a way for the City to curb rising traffic violations and accidents but also as an educational outreach program.
“The newly formed motorcycle unit offers another opportunity for us to be responsive to the concerns of our community, specifically concerns regarding the safety of our roadways,” Interim Chief of Police Mike Berezin said.
The five-person unit is made up of Sergeant Tracy Cox, Officer Michael Bukowski, Officer Robert Lawson, Officer Ben Lampe, and Officer Brian Norwood, each of whom have gone through Accident Investigation and Reconstruction School and Victory motorcycle training in Tucson, AZ.
“This unit fills a definite need within the City. Between 2012 and 2013, we saw a 50 percent increase in traffic accident,” Assistant Police Chief Keith Jemison said. “These four officers and one sergeant will be located in various Missouri City neighborhoods and communities, which is where we actually receive most of our calls and complaints regarding traffic.”
Missouri City chose Victory motorcycles for the unit after receiving bids from three vendors. Benefits and technological advantages that the motorcycles provide the unit include:
- A ballistic skid plate on the underside of the motorcycle that protects officers both from below and if turned on its side as a shield from gun fire
- Fused peddles that, unlike collapsible peddles, prevent injury to riders’ ankles during sharp turns
- A “zone of protection” that prevents the motorcycle from falling on a rider
- Accommodations to hold and store a full-size collapsible rifle
- An iPod/iPad docking station
“Interim Police Chief Mike Berezin was vital to the department choosing Victory,” Officer Norwood said. “We went through a pretty rigorous trial period, looking at bikes used in nearby departments and testing out different types, and Chief knew that the Victory vehicles were the best for our outfit.”
The officers chosen for the unit underwent training in Tucson as part of a Victory program that allowed each officer to see the complete construction of their motorcycle, which the group spent three days riding back to Missouri City once their training was complete. The excitement amongst staff for the new program has even the most serious of public safety officers thrilled at the program, one in a long line of proactive City projects aimed at increasing citizen safety.
“These guys have gone through some great team building,” said Sergeant Cox, who leads the unit. “There’s a high level of excitement and camaraderie within this group.”
The motorcycle unit’s implementation is the result of several years of research and effort on behalf of City Council, Police Department staff, City employees, and several former Missouri City leaders such as former Chief of Police Joel Fitzgerald and former Council member Brett Kolaja. City Council approved the formation and funding of the unit in 2013; revenues from a Council-approved property tax increase the same year were allocated to fund the motorcycle unit, one new firefighter and employee salary adjustments. The motorcycle unit’s completion is a years-in-the-making project that has the Police Department excited and City leaders feeling accomplished.
“It is very satisfying to see something we’ve worked so hard to bring to the City finally implemented,” City Council member Jerry Wyatt said. “I know the members of our Police Department are excited to begin patrolling on their new vehicles, and more importantly I know this will be a great benefit to our citizens.”