Brown Deer - Brown Deer residents will soon be seeing a police motorcycle patrolling the village.
Brown Deer Police Chief Michael Kass said the motorcycle will be a conversation-starter between police and residents, and it will be used in parades and other community gatherings.
"People are drawn to motorcycles," Kass said. "They are going to come up and engage with the officer who is riding it. We want that kind of engagement."
The Brown Deer Police Department has been without a motorcycle for about 20 years. Other North Shore police departments have also used motorcycles in the past, but none are in use at the moment. Kass said the rarity of police motorcycles in the North Shore will add an element of surprise to traffic enforcement efforts, as most people do not expect Brown Deer cops to patrol on motorcycles.
"It's different and nimble," he said. "It's going to be good for preventive patrol and patrolling crime areas because the public isn't used to seeing cops on motorcycles. They can get into areas that squad cars can't."
Much of the research on the motorcycle was done by officer Dan Hansen, who will also be the officer riding the motorcycle.
Hansen learned that the Greenfield Police Department was getting rid of its 2013 Harley-Davidson with 7,000 miles, and he was able to work with House of Harley-Davidson to get a deal on the bike. He said Brown Deer managed to purchase the motorcycle, helmets, lights and radio communications for $20,000, when it would ordinarily cost $40,000 to $50,000.
In addition to the $18,000 the police would have spent on the motorcycle, it also would have to spend about $9,000 on the computer system, $8,000 for the light system and between $4,000 and $6,000 for the communications system.
The motorcycle will not take the place of a squad car in the police department's vehicle fleet. Hansen said a motorcycle has the benefit of efficient gas mileage, but it is not able to be used in rain, snow or high-speed pursuits. The motorcycles do not have the front-seat laptops that most squad cars have, so the motorcycle officer will have to hear the address over the helmet radio and respond without the use of GPS. That won't be a problem for Hansen, who said he knows every street in Brown Deer after working in the village for 15 years.
So far, Hansen has only patrolled the village on motorcycle for one day, and during his patrol, he saw residents express enthusiasm over the police department's new toy.
"I received waves, thumbs up, air high-fives and double-takes and people stopping and pointing," Hansen said. "When I pulled up to the gas station, people came up and commented on the motorcycle. It was all positive."