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Motorcycle officers training to be first responders

By Jason Sloss, KESQ News Channel 3 Anchor & Reporter, jsloss@kesq.com
Published On: Oct 10 2012 07:41:25 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 11 2012 07:17:50 PM CDT

The Palm Desert Police Department along with the Riverside County Sheriff's Department is looking for ways to get Officers to emergency calls a lot quicker. Jason Sloss reports that the solution may be on two wheels.

LA QUINTA, Calif. -

The difference between life and death, in a crime or an emergency, can be a matter of minutes or seconds.     The Palm Desert Police Department along with the Riverside County Sheriff's Department is looking for ways to get Officers to emergency calls a lot quicker.  Jason Sloss reports that the solution may be on two wheels.

Local Police Officers are often in training, but this training session is specifically for motor Officers, those who patrol on motorcycles.

"A motorcycle is a wonderful tool to cut through traffic and get from A to B as quickly as possible."

Palm Desert Assistant Police Chief Bill Sullivan says he had an epiphany about the critical role of motor Officers during a robbery last year.  Armed men held up a jewelry store on El Paseo and a motor Officer was the first to arrive on scene.

"In a patrol car dealing with the traffic -- it can take a long time. Especially if there's a situation where it's a priority one call -- a baby not breathing, a robbery or shooting -- something like that."

Corporal Troy Lawrence with the Sheriff's Department, a former motor Officer and SWAT team member was asked to put together a class to prepare motor Officers to be first responders.

"It's a lot of mental training, physical training, and weapons training."

It's a level of tactical training some of these Officers haven't seen since the Police Academy.  Lawrence says that with training comes confidence to deal with dangerous situations.

"Remind them that just because they've gotten there and secured the scene -- it can continue into something else and to be prepared for anything until it's over."              
               
Sullivan says the critical window to get an Officer on scene of an emergency is five minutes.  He believes motor Officers will be relied on more to make that happen.

"The motorcycle officer is not just for writing tickets and taking accident reports anymore. Now, they're a frontline tactical unit. And you're going to see them making the difference between life and death."