MotoCop takes to the streets of Havasu
By Tony Raap
Saturday, January 26, 2008 9:44 PM MST
Remember the movie “RoboCop”? Lake Havasu City now has its very own MotoCop.
Dressed in motorcycle boots and a black helmet, Officer Clint Wilcox has been patrolling the city’s streets on a new $30,000 Honda motorcycle, the Police Department’s first such vehicle in more than 10 years.
“I love it. It’s awesome,” Wilcox said of the motorcycle, a 2007 ST1300PA. “It’s a lot of fun.”
For the past two weeks, Wilcox has patrolled high-complaint, accident-prone areas, focusing not only on congested thoroughfares but also on busy residential streets, a constant source of griping among disgruntled motorists.
“During our public forums and other contacts with citizen groups, the No. 1 concern expressed by citizens is traffic-related issues,” police Chief Dan Doyle said.
That’s why he lobbied City Council this past spring to earmark more than $60,000 for two police motorcycles, one for Wilcox and another for a second MotoCop, who will come on board in April.
The bikes themselves cost $18,765 per unit. They each had about $12,000 worth of police equipment - sirens, radar, blue-and-red flashing lights - installed, city spokesman Charlie Cassens said.
All the parts on the motorcycles are weather-resistant. The bikes also are equipped with anti-lock brakes and an adjustable windshield. Wilcox says he is still feeling his way around the machine, adding that it has taken a while to get use to its maneuverability.
“It’s very challenging. I have buttons all over the place, so I have to multimanage. That’s the hardest part for me,” he said.
Patrolling on a motorcycle does have its advantages. Most notably, it’s more inconspicuous than a squad car, making it easier to catch unsuspecting speeders.
“It’s hard to hide a big patrol car. Motorcycles will give us an advantage in that area,” Wilcox said.
There are drawbacks, though. Namely, having to deal with the elements such as blustery wind gusts and rain-slicked streets, the latter of which Wilcox battled on Thursday morning.
Lt. Rich Sloma said the Police Department had motorcycles twice before, most recently in 1997, but they eventually became budget casualties.
“When it was time to replace them, it wasn’t cost effective,” Sloma said.
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