Oct 022006
 
Authors: Valerie Hisam The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The CSU Police Department has two new additions to its force.

With higher speed, fuel efficiency and easier access to campus, using motorcycles has become “a really useful tool to serve the community,” said Officer Chris Robertson.

Robertson, one of the two officers who run their shift on the bikes if weather permits, proposed the idea to add the motorcycles two years ago. But it took another year to a year and a half to actually implement and start a motorcycle program for the department.

And Robertson saw his idea come true.

In January, the first bike was added, and then in May, the second one came along. Both motorcycles are not the typical Harley Davidson police bikes like what the city police have; CSUPD’s bikes are BMW dual-sport motorcycles that can go on and off road.

“They are designed for comfort on the street (around the main campus),” Robertson said, “but then they also work on the West Campus (which has a lot of dirt roads).”

“The biggest benefit at the university as a whole is the reduced fuel cost,” said Sgt. Chris Wolf, the other officer who uses the motorcycles when on patrol. “The bikes get 60 miles to the gallon and only have to be refilled about every three weeks, whereas the patrol cars get 30 miles to the gallon and have to be gassed once a week.”

Wolf also added that he has received many inquiries from other universities about the motorcycles because of their efficiency.

For Robertson, it is a “unique assignment” that allows for many added benefits when on patrol.

“It’s easier to see all around you 360 degrees, you’re seated higher and it’s easier to talk to people,” he said.

The other major advantage, especially on the main campus where there can be masses of bodies walking around, is that on the motorcycle there is a “quicker response to calls where a car can’t get to as easily,” Robertson said.

“It seems that they can get around a lot faster when they are on the (motorcycle),” said Stanley Ho, a sophomore political sciences major.

“People are also more open to talking to officers on the motorcycles than ones in a car,” Wolf added. “You’re not shut up (on the bikes) and they have just become a good resource.”

Robertson and Wolf have also used the motorcycles to assist at football games, especially in the tailgating parking lots and for traffic control, and to help with bike education and enforcement.

The motorcycles are black and white, with six sets of red and blue lights, a siren and a PA system.

But for Robertson, it was critical to have one other thing: The word “police” is written backward across the windscreen.

“We want students to have no doubt as to who it is (if they are getting pulled over),” he said.

Robertson said the first two motorcycles have benefited the department.

Students agreed.

“They are obviously needed, so I’m all for it,” said Valerie Wolfe, a senior biology major. “I guess they are being somewhat conscientious of the environment with the fuel efficiency.”

As the bikes get more notice, the officers hope the program will grow.

“It is a good program,” Wolf said. “I hope it will continue and expand.”

Staff writer Valerie Hisam can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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