FRESNO POLICE DEPARTMENT MOTORCYCLE UNIT.
By Officer Traci McReynolds
Fresno is the sixth largest city in California, located in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley. It has a population of just under 500,000 people and is one of the most diverse communities in the nation, with 88 ethnic backgrounds and 105 different languages spoken in our schools. The police department has 728 sworn officers and 365 non-sworn.
In 2002, the City of Fresno lost fifty-two of its citizens in traffic collisions. The reality is that you are many times more likely to be involved in an injury or fatal traffic collision in Fresno than in a violent crime. Theses are tragic and senseless losses, and Chief Jerry Dyer vowed to take an aggressive stance to make our streets safer.
To complete his vision, Chief Dyer partnered with the California Office of Traffic Safety and received a federal grant for $560,000.00 to purchase twenty state of the art BMW police motorcycles and associated start-up costs. In 2003, the Traffic Bureau grew from twenty-two to forty-two Traffic Enforcement Officers. As a result 62,290 hazardous citations were issued in the year 2003, more that two and a half times the number of citations issued in 2002.
In December 2003, the department started a new Neighborhood Traffic Unit (NTU). The unit consists of two fifteen person squads of specially equipped, dual-purpose police motorcycle officers to address a variety of night time traffic and criminal issues. The NTU Officers are riding the BMW 650 dual sport motorcycles.
The Fresno Police Department also has two Suzuki DR400 dirt bikes. The dirt bikes have been essential for patrolling the river bottom and several hundred acres of off road and farm land.
The Fresno Police Department competed in the 2002 Chief's Challenge on both the state and federal levels. The Chief's challenge is a prestigious award that recognizes police departments that are innovative in their efforts to promote traffic safety. Chief Dyer's leadership earned the Fresno Police Department a first place award in the State of California. The Department received a second place award on the national level.