STATE POLICE ROLLS OUT MOTORCYCLE UNIT
WEST TRENTON - The sound of thunder was heard once again from the hills of Wilburtha as the New Jersey State Police Motorcycle Unit rolled out from Division Headquarters for the first time since 1954.
Dozens of Motor Officers and police chiefs and directors from around the state, as well as representatives from the Maryland State Police and Wisconsin State Patrol, joined Attorney General Peter C. Harvey, State Police Superintendent Colonel Rick Fuentes, Executive Director of the Turnpike Authority Michael Lapolla, and Deputy Executive Director Tim McDonough in formally assigning the four Harley Davidson Electra Glides to duty on the Garden State Parkway.
Motorcycles lined the parking lot as a State Police bagpiper and color guard escorted in the new bikes while scores of uniformed Troopers and guests looked on. After brief remarks from Attorney General Harvey and Colonel Fuentes, the new Unit performed a short drill.
The motorcycles were purchased by the New Jersey Highway Authority (now merged with the Turnpike), and will be used exclusively on the Garden State Parkway for patrol work and events at Parkway owned venues such as the PNC Bank Arts Center and service areas. Motorcycles are able to respond to calls for service or accidents where traditional marked cars are unable to gain access due to heavy traffic or crowds. The congestion of the Parkway often makes response to accidents difficult, which leads to even further delays for motorists. Quicker response times also enhance communication between other first responders, medical, and other life saving support, which is crucial in serious crashes. They will also be used occasionally for ceremonial events and funerals.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, for every minute a traffic lane is blocked, it takes four minutes to restore the flow after the blockage is cleared. During peak-use traffic periods, even a small reduction in the time it takes to clear a roadway can greatly relieve congestion.
"Motorcycles have proven to be an effective law enforcement tool," said Colonel Fuentes. "They will be a great asset for the New Jersey State Police, and will enhance the ability of our Troopers to provide a better service to motorists and citizens who use the facilities on the Parkway."
"The Division of State Police has again proven its ability to recognize and implement progressive public safety initiatives," said Attorney General Peter Harvey. "Thanks to the cooperative partnership between the State Police and the New Jersey Turnpike Authority this important program has become a reality."
"We're looking forward to seeing the motorcycle patrols on our roadways over the next few months and we hope that motorists will appreciate the benefit they bring in terms of being able to respond to their potential needs faster," said Michael Lapolla, executive director of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.
The Unit currently consists of four Troopers, and has been assigned to the Holmdel Station. Holmdel is responsible for approximately 42 miles of the Garden State Parkway from Woodbridge in Middlesex County to Brick Township in Ocean County. In 2003, Holmdel investigated 2,991 motor vehicles accidents on that portion of the Parkway.
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