The city is seeking bids for its new police motorcycle.
Bids are due at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 7, in the Clerk’s Office at City Hall. The bids are scheduled to be opened immediately after the deadline in the Common Council chambers.
The city’s 2018 budget includes $29,314 to buy the vehicle, which the department has said will replace an older model motorcycle that has become outdated and obsolete.
Police Chief Kevin C. Beach told the Common Council in the fall that the department’s 1989 model motorcycle is barely capable of participating in parades and other events much less patrol.
With the new motorcycle, the department could then start a patrol — with the motorccycle providing distinct advantages that a patrol car cannot in some instances.
There was room in the budget because the department saved about $30,000 in its vehicle account in 2017, officials said.
Beach told the council a patrol motorcycle would last a decade and grant officers access to tighter confines where a patrol car cannot go.
The plan is to purchase a 2018 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide police edition.
The budgeted amount would cover the vehicle as well as the equipment to outfit for police duties and to outfit the officers who will use it for patrol.
The equipment will include a radio, lights and a fan kit to keep it from overheating during long-term stop-and-start city driving, police added.
While the new motorcycle will not have an on-board laptop like the cruisers do, the department has a tablet that the motorcycle officer can use.
Deputy Police Chief Kevin M. Simons said the plan is to have around six officers who will use the vehicle.
The motorcycle would be
used for patrols, with a focus
on daylight hours and good weather, so it will be on the road for about eight months a year, Simons said.
It would match the department’s four-wheeled fleet, Simons noted, as it would be in the Houston police department paint scheme of black and white with Rome police patrol graphics.
The motorcycle would provide police with more access to tighter confines where a car cannot go, but the focus is traffic enforcement, Simons said.
“They’re concealable a little bit better than cars are,” the deputy chief said, adding that “they can pull up alongside a vehicle” to see if a driver is texting or otherwise distracted.
The motorcycle can also be used as an escort for events like the Ride for Missing Children, he noted.
The department has been at least a decade without motorcycle patrol. The 1989 model it still has in its fleet has not been out on the road for anything other than ceremonial uses, and was not new when the department acquired it.