Attracted by the romanticized Hollywood image of the motorcycle officer clad in a helmet, mirrored sunglasses, leather jacket and black shiny boots; many are curious about how to become a motorcycle cop.
Motorcycle Cop Jobs
Federal, state, county and local law enforcement agencies throughout the nation employ motorcycle cops. As noted by the Seattle, Washington, Police Department, the primary duties of motorcycle officers include traffic enforcement, escort assignments and special event traffic control. In addition those who become a motorcycle cop may sometimes be dispatched to patrol calls as a back-up or primary unit if needed.
Motorcycle Cop Qualifications
Police motorcycle units are, similarly to canine and criminal investigation units, specialized assignments not entry level positions. To become a motorcycle cop, candidates must already be employed as police officers and must have between 2 and 4 years of experience, depending on the agency. The Florida Highway Patrol as an example requires that those wishing to become a motorcycle cop must have a minimum of “two years sworn experience with the Florida Highway Patrol” to qualify.
Obtaining employment as a police patrol officer is the first step in the process for those desiring to become a motorcycle cop. Basic qualification requirements for police officers as advertised by the Phoenix, Arizona Police Department are typical of municipal law enforcement agencies throughout the nation.
- Must be at least 20 years of age at the time of application, 21 years of age prior to completion academy training.
- Must be a US citizen.
- Must be of sound physical and mental health.
- Must have vision acuity of 20/20 vision or correctable to 20/20 with no color blindness.
- Must not have been dishonorably discharged from the armed forces.
- Must possess good moral character with no history of felony or serious misdemeanor convictions.
- Must be a high school graduate or have completed an equivalency.
In addition to meeting the basic requirements for police officers in general and having the required years of police service, there are also special requirements for applicants seeking to become a motorcycle cop, as noted in the Florida Highway Patrol policy manual.
- Must have the physical ability and strength to lift an agency issued motorcycle that is lying on the ground back to an upright position from both sides.
- Must have or be able to obtain a license to operate a motorcycle.
- Must be able to successfully complete the prescribed motorcycle officer training course.
Motorcycle Cop Training
Upon selection, those chosen to become a motorcycle cop must complete a basic motor officer certification course to learn police motorcycle riding concepts and techniques that will later be used in the field. Candidates receive classroom and practical field training that will allow them to operate a police motorcycle expertly and safely in confined spaces and over a variety of courses and conditions that simulate actual motorcycle patrol conditions. After completion of the basic training course, new motorcycle cops generally are assigned to ride in tandem with an experienced motorcycle officer for a period of time before being allowed to ride alone.
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