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Oak Ridge North to get new police motorcycle

June 26, 2018 GMT

The Oak Ridge North Police Department is poised to get a new motorcycle that, according to officials, will help officers catch the violators faster.

At the Monday night, June 25, meeting of the Oak Ridge North City Council, council members approved the purchase of a 2018 Kawasaki police style motorcycle to be used for the Oak Ridge North’s traffic/patrol program.

The total cost of the motorcycle, including improvements such as a portable radio, microphones and wireless transmitters, is $24,630.51, according to city documents. The base price of the motorcycle is slightly more than $14,000.

Police Chief Andrew Walters said the traffic patrol program began in 2014 after a suspect on a motorcycle gave fled from officers, eventually stopped him. The motorcycle-in good condition—was eventually seized and converted it into a police motorcycle.

The Oak Ridge North officers upgraded the bike with parts that would typically go onto a patrol car, Walters said.

At the meeting, Officer Ralph Craig told City Council the new Kawasaki motorcycle the police department was requesting was “more than capable to do the job that we are asking it to do,” as it was fast, reaching speeds up to 150 mph and it was low cost. Other law enforcement in the area use Harley-Davidson or BMW motorcycles, Craig said, noting that they were more expensive and slower.

The new bike will have a low operational cost and can be serviced by the police officers, Craig said.

The Kawasaki motorcycle will undergo at least $10,000 in upgrades, which include a Liberator Wireless Motorcycle Cable Kit and a wireless transmitter, a helmet kit with a portable radio,

Walters said the motorcycle is important to the department’s traffic program because it has made it safer and easier to pursue traffic violators, even those who may see a police car and keep on going. A motorcycle has a better chance of navigating on feeder and residential streets, he added.

The motorcycle will have a life span of four years, Craig said.

Craig, who’s been with the Oak Ridge Police Department for years, told the Villager that he pushed for the program to start for a long time. He is the officer in charge of the traffic program.

“I love motorcycles,” Craig said. “I’ve been riding motorcycles since I was 18. I’ve been asking for this—for the purchase of a new motorcycle for a long time. I’m ecstatic.”

Public Works budget amendment

Heather Neeley, assistant to the city manager and director of economic development, said the council also approved an amended public works budget to increase revenue for the sale of property for items that the department no longer used. That expense, totaling $24,631, was transferred to the capital improvements fund to offset the cost of the police motorcycle purchase, Neeley said.

City Manager report

Oak Ridge North City Manager Vicky Rudy gave an update on the search for her replacement. She told council members that the search committee has found four strong candidates and will review them at the committee’s next meeting scheduled Saturday, June 30. She also said she would like to consider doing a team building workshop with city staff.

Rudy announced her retirement in early May. She plans to leave her role in August. Rudy has worked in Oak Ridge North as the city manager since March 2010 after leaving her role as city administrator for Rollingwood, Texas. Previously, Rudy was the city administrator in Montgomery.