June 16, 2019

“Smooth as silk,” cooed patrolman Brian Veysey of the powerful Harley-Davidson. Veysey, one of Bangor’s finest, gets a ride of the finest kind on his 1340cc machine, the latest addition to the Bangor Police Department fleet.

The Harley makes Bangor PD one of Maine’s most mobile, diverse and innovative law enforcement agencies. The arrangement with a Hermon motorcycle dealer also makes the arrangement cost effective.

The city spent $3,000, total, in safety apparel and equipment and to send Veysey and a second officer, Michael Jewett, to a one-week training course in Massachusetts. Those are long-term investments. The $1 lease for the motorcycle during the first year of the program makes it affordable. It’s smart money for the city, which gets the opportunity to find out if the motorcycle patrol makes sense before buying into it. Its also good business for Central Maine Harley Davidson.

Maine is not the most hospitable state for two-wheelers. The season is short. Depending on when the ice goes out on the roads (and the hardiness and determination of the rider), it can run from late April into October. But if the motorcycle patrol works for Bangor, the idea could spin off to coastal communities where police are constantly on the go and a full-size cruiser isn’t necessary.

Bangor’s Harley had a serious test ride over the Fourth. It passed. The cycle makes sense. The department can rest one of its far more expensive patrol cars and the motorcycle adds flexibility for traffic enforcement. It can get into problem areas and accident scenes where the emphasis for transportation is on access and maneuverability. It could be used effectively to enforce the city’s pedestrian safety ordinance in the core area, where automobiles, after a brief show of courtesy, again are bullying pedestrians out of the crosswalks.

The major public selling point to the motorcycle, however, is the same as it is for the department’s other, non-motorized two-wheeler, the bicycle. Summertime patrols by officers pedaling through Bangor’s downtown have been successful in reducing friction there between business and residential tenants and transients and youths.

The motorcycle is far larger and faster, and eventually will carry a bigger sticker price, but the impact is similar. It brings law enforcement personnel closer to the people. The premium is on visibility and presence.

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