The University of Tennessee Police Department has expanded its patrol fleet—and the two new units are wheels of a much different kind.
UTPD launched this week a new motorcycle unit focused on pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicle traffic safety concerns. Sgt. Donnie Ross supervises the unit, which has two motorcycle officers: corporals Matt Kinder and Ron Humble.
UTPD Chief Gloria Graham said the motorcycles are an investment that will make officers even more accessible to the public and will help save money on gas and other costs associated with the cruisers.
Officers will supplement the UT force during high traffic patrol duties like UT games, concerts, commencement, and other special events. The motorcycles will also be front and center at community events and programs.
“Pedestrian and other traffic safety is one of our biggest concerns on campus. The addition of this unit will allow us to emphasize our commitment to the smooth, safe and orderly movement of traffic on campus,” Graham said. “They units allow officers a more efficient means of travel through heavy traffic and crowds and are much more environmentally friendly too.”
The department has prepared for the addition over the summer. The motorcycle unit officers took an eighty hour police motorcycle training course that taught safe, defensive motorcycle riding techniques, law enforcement techniques, and motorcycle patrol duties. UT officers will also participate in ongoing training with other agencies to broaden their skills.
The motorcycles help UTPD achieve its ongoing goals for increasing visibility. Additions over recent years include more bicycle units and additional Community Service Officers who move through campus in small, well-marked trucks.