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New motorcycles added
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Don't be surprised to see Ceres motorcycle officers riding new motorcycles that look more like dirt bikes than the traditional Harley Davidson street cruisers. The Ceres Police Division has recently added these two new "dual-sport" motorcycles to its fleet as a result of the City Council's decision to increase the officers' patrolling capabilities.

Ceres has grown substantially in terms of its population and geography during the last decade. These changes have been accompanied by many new policing challenges. We now have more park acreage, some of which is almost impossible to access with a standard patrol car, so a lightweight, agile motorcycle is the perfect answer to that problem. In addition to patrolling the parks, the soccer fields and other similar areas, these new motorcycles will make it much easier to patrol special community events, along with getting to hard-to-access locations like canal banks, fields, rough terrain and other narrow access locations. Rush hour traffic also poses particular problems, so these new motorcycles may be used during those time periods as well. The first "official" deployment of these new bikes will be in the coming days at Christmas Tree Lane.

These dual-sport motorcycles have 400cc water-cooled engines. They are lightweight and highly maneuverable, for use both on and off-road, and they are equipped with the usual emergency lighting equipment, sirens and saddle bags. They are specially constructed and marked for police usage. Ceres presently has three 96-cubic-inch and one 103-cubic-inch Harley Davidson road bikes. Of those four, three of them are used on a full-time basis while one is kept as a reserve unit. Our street bike program is serving the community well, and there are no plans to replace them with the dual-sport motorcycles. The dual-sport bikes are only intended as a supplement to our regular motorcycle traffic enforcement program.

These dual-sport motorcycles are presently being used very successfully in Modesto, Sacramento, Merced County and other jurisdictions throughout the state. They have proven to provide police officers with superior accessibility to areas congested with people, traffic and other locations posing physical obstacles and barriers.

The cost of each fully-equipped motorcycle was $5,808.87, for a total of $11,617.74. These motorcycles are known for low maintenance and operation costs and they are very sturdy and durable. A total of five officers will be assigned to use these motorcycles as an ancillary duty, in addition to their regular assignment. The motorcycle patrols will take place primarily on weekends, Friday and Saturday evenings, or during other occasions, when required. Each officer has to attend special training for operating this kind of motorcycle.

This new motorcycle program should prove to benefit the citizens of Ceres in terms of increased police services and security since the officers will now have improved mobility. We will continue to look for more ways to improve our services in the most cost-effective manner.