Police hope to rev up motorcycle use by officers

MILFORD — Officers on bikes might sound a bit old-fashioned, but for four members of the Milford Police Department it sounds like a fresh outlook on policing.

“We’ve had a motorcycle unit since 1996 with only a few years since when the bikes weren’t in use. But we haven’t used them much and Chief [Kenny] Brown really wanted to get the bikes back out in the public,” Lt. Richard Jefferson said.

Milford Police Department officers Jonathan Ricketts, Miles Kosirowski, Michael Crew and Mikhail Stanton stand behind two motorcycles the four plan to use to add to the enforcement and community/police relations around Milford. They were trained by retired Lt. Steve Rust seen behind the men. The Chronicle/Jennifer Antonik

Milford Police Department officers Jonathan Ricketts, Miles Kosirowski, Michael Crew and Mikhail Stanton stand behind two motorcycles the four plan to use to add to the enforcement and community/police relations around Milford. They were trained by retired Lt. Steve Rust seen behind the men. The Chronicle/Jennifer Antonik

Four officers, each with less than five years of service in with the department, were chosen to man the unit after some motorcycle-trained officers were recently promoted to administrative roles, according to Lt. Jefferson.

Officers on motorcycles serve a necessary role in community relations, he added, along with enforcement as officers are easier to approach when standing by a motorcycle versus inside a car.

“These bikes are not just for leading parades and funerals,” he said. “We hope to use this as a tool to engage the public more. It’s just that presence of seeing the officer there and getting the officer in a place you normally wouldn’t see him in.”

Steve Rust, retired Milford Police Department lieutenant and now trainer, agreed.

“They’re a great crime deterrent and very valuable in helping get resources out there since they’re easier to get through the crowds or through construction. The average person has no idea how difficult riding can be, so this training is important,” he said.

Mr. Rust joined Lt. Jefferson in hoping the additional usage of the bikes will allow officers unbridled access to areas that are currently policed very little such as Goat Island.

The price is right, too.

Officer Michael Crew practices tight turns to help him get around town as a new member of Milford Police Department’s motorcycle unit.  The Chronicle/Jennifer Antonik

Officer Michael Crew practices tight turns to help him get around town as a new member of Milford Police Department’s motorcycle unit. The Chronicle/Jennifer Antonik

The motorcycles to be used by the newer officers are already owned by the department and will continue to serve the community for a long time as they see limited use. An added bonus? According to Lt. Jefferson, they’re half the price of new police cars.

“These officers will hopefully do 20-25 years here, so there’s a longevity there when they receive additional training,” he said.

“We all ride our own bikes, so we know the basics,” Officer Jonathan Ricketts said. “This training has been great in helping us understand the different feel of the bikes here versus our bikes. I have a sports bike, so it can be very different.”

Mr. Rust added, “Using the bikes is definitely a more positive way of getting information that you want to get. Especially in today’s environment, police and community relations is very important. When they realize they’re all human, they put their pants on one leg at a time just like everyone, it’s a lot easier. The only difference is that they wear a badge and a gun.”

Jennifer Antonik can be reached at mc@newszap.com

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