I notice a lot of Medford police officers riding around town in the summertime on motorcycles. However, I rarely see Oregon State Police troopers on motorcycles patrolling Interstate 5.
It seems with the speeding drivers on the freeway, OSP troopers on motorcycles would be able to crack down on the lead-footed motorists. What gives?
— Brent M., Medford
The reason you don't see Oregon State Police troopers patrolling on motorcycles is because there aren't any, Brent.
OSP did away with its two-wheeled patrol force about two years ago, according to OSP Lt. Gregg Hastings.
"It was a decision we made for a few reasons," Hastings said.
One of the primary issues was a lack of manpower in the OSP ranks. State budget cuts have come down hard on OSP in recent decades, with some areas not seeing 24-hour patrols.
The motorcycle patrols were a specialized detail, which took troopers away from other services, Hastings said.
"We needed to get those troopers back into patrol cars," Hastings said.
Also, a trooper cannot transport a suspect on the back of a motorcycle. And with a manpower shortage, OSP needed as many troopers capable of transporting suspects as possible.
Hastings said there was no word if OSP would ever restart the motorcycle patrols. For now, all troopers will work the roads and freeways on four wheels.
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