Asheville police to get their Harley motors running

ASHEVILLE — for the first time in nearly 50 years, police will soon start patrolling city streets on motorcycles.

Officers picked up a pair of 2010 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide motorcycles Friday afternoon from Parkway Harley-Davidson in Swannanoa. the department is leasing the motorcycles for $1 each, annually, from the dealer.

Motorcycles allow officers to maneuver more easily on congested roadways than they can in cruisers, APD acting Sgt. Scott Pruett said. the motorcycles compact size would also allow police to reach a scene more quickly when traffic accidents slow down access for traditional police cruisers. Motorcycles also tend to consume less fuel than police cars, he said.

Well utilize them all over the city, from the neighborhoods to the interstates to downtown, wherever the need may be, Pruett said, adding that more motorcycles could be added if the units prove beneficial.

The motorcycles were outfitted with blue lights, sirens, the APD logo and other police equipment, which was paid for with $9,792 from the departments drug seizures funds, police said. the bikes sit about 3 inches higher than a standard street model and have a slightly bigger motor.

The current APD fleet includes three Segways, three electric GEM cars, 221 cars (three hybrids) and more than 30 bicycles.

APD considered buying motorcycles, for its fleet, including a pair of BMWs, chief Bill Hogan said. the low-cost lease, along with a track record of low maintenance led APD to choose the Harleys, he said.

With proper clothing for cold weather, Hogan said he expects officers could ride the motorcycles for most of the year.

If the streets are dry and not icy and not snowy, they could easily ride nine if not 10 months out of the year, he said.

Asheville police have not used motorcycle patrols since the late 1950s to early 1960s.

Parkway Harley-Davidson general manager Bob Karcher said the $1 lease program is a special offered to public safety agencies through the company. APD could choose to re-lease the motorcycles or give them back to the dealership to sell.

Karcher said Parkway is in negotiations with the Hendersonville Police Department to add motorcycles to its fleet.

Were excited for the dealership, but were also helping the city, Karcher said. They can get places cars cant.

Asheville police to get their Harley motors running