Have motorcycle, will travel
Summit County residents out and about this week might have noticed things on the roadways they have never seen before in this neck of the woods.
The county’s Sheriff’s Office now has two motorcycles, a first in the department’s history.
"We’re out there in the community," said Captain Justin Martinez, one of five deputies certified to operate the two new police-edition Harley Davidson Electra Glides.
The two motorcycles were procured through a $35,000 state grant from the Department of Public Safety, with each bike costing approximately $16,000, with sirens and lights accounting for the additional cost.
There are a number of reasons why the motorcycles will improve the department’s capabilities, in addition to the motorcycles simply being "a great PR tool," Martinez said. The motorcycles will be available for motorcades and parades (especially during the summer months) as well as law enforcement for school traffic zones and one of the recently enacted laws now on the books: the prohibition of manipulation of cell phones by drivers.
An added bonus, Martinez said, is that the motorcycles will help to reduce the department’s carbon footprint, with lower tailpipe emissions and better mileage, generally, than police cars. "We’re trying to think greener," he said.
Sgt. Justin Hemingway, an 11-year-veteran of the department, is one of the five deputies able to patrol using the motorcycles. Martinez was already certified, but four deputies endured a grueling two-week-long course in May to become certified. Hemingway said he had never sweated so much in his life.
Hemingway said it was worth it, considering that he has owned motorcycles ever since he was a junior in high school. "I love being a cop, but being a cop on a motorcycle is great," he said.
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The South Summit Board of Education voted 4-1 to put a bond measure on November’s ballot asking for $87 million to build a new high school.