Motorcycles have been used by the Westfield Police Department for traffic law enforcement purposes since the early 1900s. Today, motorcycles are utilized for a variety of law enforcement purposes, which includes not only traffic law enforcement, but also routine patrol duty, dignitary and funeral escorts, parades, and other ceremonial and public relations details and special events.
Motorcycles are extremely maneuverable and their high acceleration response capabilities make them excellent tools for traffic law enforcement and emergency response in highly congested areas. They can more easily maneuver through heavy traffic and respond to many incidents much faster than traditional patrol vehicles. Motorcycles can also access many locations a standard patrol vehicle cannot.
The Westfield Police Department realized the full value of motorcycles in the days and weeks following the widespread devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. With many streets and roads either partially or completely blocked by fallen trees, telephone poles and electrical wires, motorcycle officers were able to more easily navigate the innumerable hazards and obstructions presented by storm debris and access emergency scenes when other emergency responders’ vehicles simply could not.
Prior to Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the Westfield Police Department’s Motor Unit operated two (2) refurbished BMW motorcycles previously assigned to service with the California Highway Patrol. Following Hurricane Sandy in 2013, it acquired two (2) new Harley Davidson motorcycles, which remain in service. One (1) of them is fully equipped with a mobile computer and compact printer which is capable of issuing electronic tickets (or "e-tickets”) and is used for selective traffic enforcement duty, particularly speed (RADAR) enforcement.
Only a select few officers are authorized for assignment to motorcycle duty and the Motor Unit holds a very prestigious position within the Westfield Police Department. These officers have been chosen primarily for their demonstrated riding skills, but also for their proven desire and initiative to perform the unique duties and responsibilities expected and required of them.
The Motor Unit is an organizational component of Patrol Services. When deployed, motorcycle officers may be given selective traffic enforcement assignments, but remain available for emergency responses. They will operate at the direction of the Watch Commander and under the supervision of patrol supervisors.
The supervisor of the Motor Unit is Lieutenant Jason Rodger, He is charged with conducting period safety inspections of the motorcycles, scheduling their regular maintenance and providing for necessary repairs, and ensuring their readiness for emergency use.