FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- Seeing motorcycles on Fort Bragg is fairly common. In the near future, eight motorcycles will join those already on the roads as the Fort Bragg police add a motorcycle patrol.

To get ready for the new motorcycles, Soldiers from military police units across Fort Bragg and Department of Army civilian police officers along with fellow officers from Fort Polk, La. took a Police Motorcycle Operator Safety Course July 20 through 28, at Simmons Army Airfield.

The 80-hour program helped the future motorcycle patrol develop the skills, coordination and confidence necessary for them to operate a police motorcycle safely and efficiently.

The class, taught by three instructors from the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety, is the standard in police motorcycle training, said Gary DeKinder, a retired California Highway Patrol motorcycle officer and course instructor.

"This is the first class taught for DA and military police officers. It's only open to police and law enforcement officers and the training is the same across the board," said DeKinder. "The training we're giving the military police is the same as for civilian patrols. The job is the same, whether they work on a military installation, in a city, or for the county."

DeKinder said that having a motorcycle patrol is a valuable asset to any community because of the motorcycle's ability to turn around quickly in tight spaces and a bike is able to get in hard to access places that a patrol car can't, like some accident scenes.

Students learned the proper nomenclature for the motorcycle and its parts, slow speed maneuvering, control, braking, curve negotiation, motorcycle maintenance, defensive driving techniques and law enforcement techniques. They even practiced riding their motorcycles off-road.

Many of the students had taken the basic rider course before to be able to ride their personal motorcycles on post and said this class was more difficult and intense than the BRC.

"Any safety course after this is gravy," said Sgt. Al Daigre, 42nd MP Detachment. "They're nothing compared to what we've gone through. This is not a slacker's course. If you don't want to know how to really ride, don't come out here."

"I've been riding since I was 16 and came out here pretty confident in my riding ability," said Investigator Jefferson Adams, a DA police officre with the Directorate of Emergency Services. "This course has improved my riding skills and has most definitely been helpful."

DeKinder and the other instructors agreed that every student was challenged and each had dropped the bike a number of times. Staff Sgt. Nate Creech, 42nd MP Det., admitted to dropping his bike an estimated 40 times over the length of the course even though he was a seasoned rider with over 12 years experience.

"You come here thinking you know how to ride, but you don't," he said.

Creech, who received an award at graduation for being the most improved rider, and his classmates each leave the course knowing how to ride and ready to take on their new responsibilities.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16