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PTC to get replacement motorcycle after all

The Peachtree City Police Department will be getting a new motorcycle after all to replace the current model whose lease is up in May.

The motorcycle was the subject of much criticism at the April 18 council meeting, but a more robust set of data presented Thursday night was more than enough to sway four council members to approve the $31,941 purchase.

Police said the motorcycle can respond much quicker a cart path incident than the ATV suggested by Councilman George Dienhart, who recorded the sole ‘no’ vote against the purchase.

Beyond helping on cart path incidents, one of the motorcycle officer’s main duties is crash prevention through enforcement along with investigation of traffic crashes, Williams said. Because of that, he has 291 percent more contacts with motorists than the average patrol officer, and 80 percent more citations and warnings issued than the next-closest patrol officer, Williams said.

It was also noted that the motorcycle officer is by far the most effective patrol officer in terms of enforcing speed limits in school zones, writing 15 times as many citations and warnings compared to the average patrol officer, Williams said. Also, that success is despite the fact that the motorcycle officer’s shift only allows him to enforce the school zones in the afternoons. Part of the reason for the timing of his shift is so the officer can log time in on Saturdays as well, Williams said.

The current motorcycle also has a tremendous advantage when it comes to sipping gas compared to the standard police department patrol cars, both the Fords and the newer Chevy patrol units, said Police Sgt. Brad Williams, who supervises the motorcycle officer as commander of the Community Response Team.

The Crown Vics get 9.8 miles per gallon, and the motorcycle has gotten 32.21 mpg, Williams said.

Also, because of the way it is deployed, the motorcycle rack up about half as many miles a year as a standard patrol unit, Williams said.

Another major benefit of the motorcycle unit is the advantage in community relations because a large number of citizens have engaged the officer in conversation because the bike is so unique, and that helps improve the relationship between police and the public, Williams indicated.

The motorcycle also has a quicker response time to certain calls even when traffic is backed up on Ga. Highway 54 West, Williams said.

Councilman Eric Imker specifically thanked Councilwoman Vanessa Fleisch for urging two weeks ago for the decision to be postponed so more data could be provided.

“I can now see the value of the motorcycle program for Peachtree City,” Imker said.

The motorcycle purchase was approved on a 4-1 vote with Councilman George Dienhart against.

Dienhart had criticized the purchase as a “nice to have,” instead of a must-have item for the police department.

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