WARNER ROBINS -- The police department is putting a couple of hogs on patrol.
Traffic officers showed off the department's two 2016 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide patrol motorcycles Wednesday. The bikes are replacing BMWs that the department has used since 2007.
Officers Tim Pippio and Chris Fussell patrol by motorcycle year-round. Pippio said he has ridden in weather as cold as 13 degrees. The only time they don't ride is when it is raining.
The bikes have the same equipment as a patrol car, except for a computer. The bikes have a video camera and hand-held speed-detection radar.
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One of the advantages of motorcycles, Pippio said, is that the bikes can squeeze through congested traffic and other places a patrol car can't.
"We are able to get in and out of traffic a lot easier," he said. "We are able to get though the cars and crowds at special events and respond to situations a lot faster."
He said the department bought Harleys this time because there is a dealership in Macon where repairs can be done. The BMWs had to be taken to Atlanta for repairs.
The bikes cost $26,000 each after all the equipment is added, which Chief Brett Evans said is about half the cost of a fully outfitted patrol car.
Evans said another advantage of motorcycles is that they're good for community relations.
"The motorcycle guys are very approachable," he said. One disadvantage, he noted, is that motorcycle officers are at higher risk of injury.
Years ago a motorcycle officer suffered a serious injury in an accident, and the department didn't have bikes for a while after that. Eventually, though, the department began using them again.
The motorcycle officers offer a motorcycle safety course, and one is planned for this spring, although a date has not been set yet. Pippio said anyone interested in the class can call him at 293-1048.
To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.