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Ahead of Busy Special Events Season, NOPD Partners with St. Bernard Parish Sheriff, LSP for Motorcycle Training

by Aaron Looney

November 11, 2016

Categories: On the Beat

Topics: Partnerships, Police Training

Ahead of Busy Special Events Season, NOPD Partners with St. Bernard Parish Sheriff, LSP for Motorcycle Training

As many NOPD officers are seen throughout the city in four-wheeled patrol units, training is currently underway to make sure that additional officers will be seen on two wheels for future assignments, including many large-scale events such as the upcoming Carnival Season and 2017 NBA All-Star Game.

Members of the NOPD are currently taking part in a 120-hour certification course that will train them to properly ride and handle police motorcycles. This course is a joint training operation between the NOPD, St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office and Louisiana State Police.

Of the 120 hours of training, 80 hours will be spent learning on various exercises held in a closed course at the Port of St. Bernard, while 40 hours will be spent in active escort training.

WATCH VIDEO: NOPD Officers Learn how to Police on Two Wheels

During this training, officers train on how to operate motorcycles in various environments and situations, including how to maintain speeds, make proper turns, stopping in sudden situations, maneuvering through traffic and more.

“It's extremely important that these officers be properly trained on how to ride these motorcycles,” said St. Bernard Sheriff’s Deputy Glen Markham, motorcycle instructor and retired NOPD officer. “We don't give them anything - they have to earn the position of being a motorcycle officer. They're trained to be safe out there and to maintain the safety of those around them, and we want to ensure that will happen.”

James Pohlman, St. Bernard Parish Sheriff James Pohlman said that the training is another example of mutual aid programs that the agencies utilize on a regular basis.

“Working together like this is natural and essential for all three agencies here,” Pohlman said. “We may find ourselves working escorts with NOPD in New Orleans, or they may find themselves working with us here in St. Bernard Parish. In addition, we both work with State Police on numerous occasions.

NOPD Lt. Anthony Micheau, who heads the department's Traffic Division, said that the training is needed with a diminished number of certified motorcycle officers in the department. In additional to escort assignments for dignitaries, weddings, funerals and other events, the officers are also vital during large-scale events such as Mardi Gras, New Year’s Eve, Jazz Fest and the coming 2017 NBA All-Star Game, among others.

“The function of this training is two-fold,” Micheu said. “It helps the officers to be more comfortable riding in city elements and is also helping these officers' defensive driving tactics. The instructors are working to make sure that the officers are not only comfortable with the bike that they're handling, but that they are safe while doing so. Safety of the riders as well as safety of the citizens which we’re sworn to protect is paramount.”

“There are a lot of risks when you ride these motorcycles,” Pohlman said. “You can't be a safe operator without the proper training. Here in St. Bernard Parish, training is very important to us, as it is for the NOPD and LSP. We want these officers to be able to conduct their work in the best and safest manner possible.”