The North American Motor Officers Association has not always been NAMOA. In fact it started as the Oregon Washington Motor Officers Association (OWMOA), with a just a few motor officers. It has grown quite a bit since then.
Take a look at the history below and the historical time line provided by Retired Edmonds PD, WA. Motor Officer Mike Steer. There is also a letter from one of our founding fathers, Lee Bensen.
If you have some history and historical photos of NAMOA, please forward it to our webmaster.
By Mike Steer – Edmonds PD Retired
In 1981 several officers gathered to discuss the need for joint training. This meeting was held at Ginovanis Italian Restaurant in Portland Oregon. Officers present at this meeting and/or subsequent meetings represented the following Law Enforcement agencies; Coos Bay Police, Roseburg Police, Beaverton Police, Gresham Police, Washington County Sheriff in Oregon as well as Vancouver Police and Clark County Sheriff in Washington.
They found themselves working together at various events such as funerals and civic events. However, training together had not been done. Ideas were discussed on how to best address the need for formal “joint” training.
In an informal or joking manner they named their group the “Vespa Warriors” and cut up a red and white checkered table cloth from the Italian restaurant into six inch (6”) squares as their adopted flag.
In 1982 this group officially formed an association naming it “Oregon Washington Motor Officers Association” (OWMOA) and gained sanction for training as a sub-chapter with the Oregon Police Association. In this same year they also found themselves together to provide an escort for a fallen officers funeral in Coos Bay and met at the Timber Inn.
In 1983 the group met at the Adobe Inn in Yachatz, Oregon. During this meeting the first logo was presented. The logo had been designed by a brother of Gresham Police Motor Officer Mark Miller. The logo included Beaverton Police Motor Officer Don Bailey on a 1977 Police Kawasaki 1000 motorcycle making a leaned turn. Also in attendance was Bellevue Police Motor Officer Jim “Gramps” Hassinger.
In 1984 Officer Hassinger spearheaded a formal training conference hosting it in Bellevue, WA with more than twenty-20 motor officers attending.
The idea was that an agency from Oregon would host a training conference alternating each year with an agency in Washington. This continued until 1992 when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) out of British Columbia Canada had two members attend our training conference in Bellevue, WA.
RCMP Staff Sergeant Mike Claibut and Inspector Gary House were inspired by the training program and requested two things from OWMOA. First they requested training manuals to assist in them in restructuring their training program and secondly to join OWMOA. By this time Motor Officers from Idaho had joined in our training conferences. During discussions it was determined that “Oregon Washington” no longer reflected our total membership.
In 1995 the RCMP hosted the first training conference in Vancouver, BC Canada. This was also the first year with a new name, “North American Motor Officers Association” (NAMOA).
By 1995 the association had grown in size. While the annual training conferences are held each year in a specific city, state or Canadian province there is normally a host agency that spearheads the conference with several neighboring agencies assisting.
Our membership exceeds 400 members and we average over 175 motor officers participating annually in the training conference.