Cycle Unit

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There’s a kind of irony associated with America’s oldest and continuously operating motorcycle manufacturer, Harley-Davidson. For years the motorcycles the company produces had (and, in the eyes of many, still have) a sort of outlaw reputation kindled by the 1969 counterculture film “Easy Rider,” and the fact that so many malevolent biker gangs like the Hell’s Angels, Warlocks and Pagans have preferred Harleys as their bikes of choice.

What’s so ironic? Police also prefer Harley-Davidsons.

For decades, police departments all across the United States have used Harley-Davidsons as patrol vehicles to chase down those menace-to-society gang members and other lawbreakers, such as those of us who attempt to exceed the speed limit. Now the Brigantine Police Department has joined the ranks, putting into service on Aug. 14 with the first 2010 Harley Electra Glide to roll off the assembly line. 

The 2010 Harley Electra Glide came fully equipped as a police vehicle, with everything on board that a patrol car has except a computer, for $19,000. Patrol cars are typically ordered as little more than high-performance passenger cars that have to be decked out with markings and electronics that can add five figures to their purchase price, which is substantially more than $19,000. And since motorcycles are not used 24/7 like some cars, the average police motorcycle might last 10 years to only three or four for a car.

Officer Richard Casamento operates Brigantine’s police motorcycle unite. Both were already licensed motorcyclists before attending a two-week training course with the Philadelphia Highway Patrol’s motorcycle squad to learn the intricacies of policing with the bike.

Weather permitting, the Harley will likely stay in service through the late fall before being garaged and taken out again next spring. On a good day the bike will be used from daybreak to about 1 am

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