Columbus could receive second police motorcycle

Published 11:24 pm Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Columbus Police Department received preliminary notification recently from the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program that it is a recipient of another new motorcycle, free of charge.

Columbus Town Council met Sept. 19 and approved a resolution to move forward with receiving another motorcycle.

Columbus currently has a Kawasaki police motorcycle that it received about two years ago from the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety program.

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Columbus Police Chief Chris Beddingfield told council the town has spent less than $1,000 a year on the current motorcycle, which was also obtained at no cost to the town. The town pays for general maintenance and insurance on the motorcycle.

The N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program will administer the grant from federal funding in the amount of $41,756 for the motorcycle, according to the resolution.

Beddingfield said the police department has two officers currently qualified to teach the Bike Safe class and one officer has to use their personal motorcycle. When the officers need training, the town can only send one officer because the town only has one bike, he said.

Beddingfield said there have been several community activities where the town has used the motorcycle, including leading parades and 5K runs as well as conducting the Bike Safe classes, which generate a lot of points for Columbus in the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program.

By gaining points and participating in the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program, the town receives funding for equipment and training from the state with no matching funds required. Beddingfield said each motorcycle class the town participates in, the town earns 300 points, which equals $300 for equipment.

Beddingfield said the town’s motorcycle has been tremendous for community relations. He said the community is interested in seeing the bike as well as increasing bike safety through the classes.

“The whole purpose for the first (motorcycle) was safety training,” Beddingfield said. “But the community relations is remarkable. It’s been a tremendous tool community relations-wise, not to mention the training.”

Beddingfield said he has another officer interested in receiving motorcycle training and if so, the town would have three officers for two motorcycles.

The new motorcycle will be a BMW because Kawasaki discontinued manufacturing police motorcycles. Beddingfield said the new one will be the same color and setup as the current motorcycle.

It is not yet known when the town will be officially approved or receive the new bike.