Over the summer months, Mississippi State University’s Police Department purchased two brand new motorcycles for the patrol officers on campus. According to Chief Vance Rice of the MSU PD, these motorcycles are easier to maintain than patrol cars, cheaper to equip and to top it all off, they are electric and completely fume-free.
The idea for electric motorcycles came from Rice about seven years ago. He noticed the University of Florida adopted electric motorcycles to replace their own Harley Davidsons, which had a myriad of problems and maintenance issues. Rice's research showed that these new cycles are better for the environment and much easier to maintain than Harleys.
According to Rice, along with being environmentally friendly and extremely mobile, cycles do not cost near as much to equip with the necessary utilities. The new cycles will cost around the amount a typical patrol car would, but while a car’s equipment costs around $10,000, these new motorcycles will cost about $8,000 less.
The particular brand of motorcycle MSU PD chose is called Zero Motorcycles, which is a relatively new company based in Santa Cruz, California that started in 2006.
The name comes from the zero emissions of these modern, lightweight cycles. The MSU PD currently has two Zero cycles in their possession, one purchased by the police department and the other paid for by the Office of Student Affairs and the Dean of Students’ Office.
“I’ve wanted them since I first got here, but just this last year I feel like I had the budget to be able to do it,” Rice said.
According to Rice, patrol cars usually cost about $50 a day in gas prices and emit all the fumes a normal vehicle would, but the motorcycles cost $5 for a daily charge and emit no fumes whatsoever. The cycles are also much quicker and more mobile than the average patrol car, and Vance said he thinks the cycles will be a big help, especially on game days.
Corporal Willie Bailey, one of the D-shift patrol drivers for MSU PD, also said he thinks these motorcycles will be very beneficial. Bailey said the motorcycles are very quiet machines that will be great for parking patrol, cutting through the campus bollards and during hectic traffic.
“Overall, the motorcycles are another positive tool that will be used to better the safety for everyone at MSU. They will help make my job easier in pretty much every patrol aspect,” Bailey said.
Before being able to ride the new Zeros, officers must first undergo motorcycle training. Officer Michael Dover and several others have already completed their training and said they are ready to ride for the fall semester. Dover has been with the department since April 2017 and is a patrol officer.
“Because our department only runs so many vehicles during shift, the motorcycle offers another officer the ability to respond to calls. Instead of being on bicycle patrol or foot patrol, I can ride the motorcycle and assist the shift with calls for service,” Dover said.
Vance said he hopes these motorcycles can patrol the tight traffic at the Roberts Building more efficiently as well. He says cars passing buses is a big issue in that small section of road and with the cycles, he hopes it will deter potential passers.
Vance said the motorcycles are expected to be out on patrol by the time of the first game day, as well as on regular patrol along with two patrol cars. With four to five officers on shift and at least three vehicles out at all times, the MSU Police Department is well equipped for the upcoming fall semester.