Jonesboro Police Adds Motorcycle Officers

JONESBORO, AR -- You might think about being on your best behavior driving around Jonesboro. Jonesboro Police Officers aren't just in cars anymore. You should soon see the new Jonesboro Motorcycle Officers out and about.

"The motorcycle is just a better tool to get in and out of traffic. Where as if traffic is grid locked, the officer can split traffic to get up to the scene to render aid or get traffic flowing again," says Jonesboro Motorcycle Officer Jeff Vernon.

This isn't the first time for Jonesboro to have officers on motorcycles. Back in the 50's it was part of their department, but for many reasons, the motorcycle cops were done away with, that is until now.

The bikes for these officers have arrived. They are 2007 Harley Davidson Road Kings, specially equipped for police duties. Both motorcycle officers, Jeff Vernon and Danny Stallings, are 2 longtime officers with the J.P.D. and also motorcycle enthusiast. But to learn the ropes for being a motorcycle cop, they were sent to a 2 week long course in Memphis. After being educated on the bikes, they both feel they have an advantage to serve the public.

"When you're in a vehicle you're in a confined space. You don't hear as much where riding down the road, you may hear brakes squealing. You're going to hear the elements, you're going to feel the elements, and you're going to know what's going on around you more on a motorcycle," says Vernon.

Another plus these officers are hoping to create is motorcycle safety, among other motorists.

"Nobody like's getting a ticket, so we're hoping that they'll actually be watching for a motorcycle now, hoping that it's not a police officer, then we may catch them not paying attention," says Vernon.

You may think you'll just be seeing these motorcycle officers out when the sun is, but they say the weather won't be stopping them for the most part. They'll be out even in the rain.

"We'll actually be enforcing traffic laws and working accidents and they will be out 365 days a year. About the only time the motorcycle won't be out is in the winter when there's ice on the roadway," says Vernon.

This week is the last week of training here in Jonesboro. Beginning Monday, they'll be out on their regular routes, possibly looking for you.

As of now, there are only 2 J.P.D. Officers assigned to the motorcycles, but they did say they are hoping to add more in the near future.