“How Do I Become a Motor Officer?”
This is a common email question we get. In fact we get this question from civilians who are interested in law enforcement and from those already law enforcement professionals. So here is some information which may help you become a motor officer.
First for those who are not in law enforcement. You first have to be hired as a police officer, deputy or trooper, etc. That process can be lengthy, depending on the agency, hiring trends, etc. With that said you should look to apply at an agency that has an established motor officer / traffic unit. It is really important you know how to be a law enforcement professional before you jump on a motorcycle and start engaging in enforcement. With that said, it is not uncommon for officers to work 7 – 10 years or even more before they can even apply to become a motor officer.
For those of you who are in law enforcement and have an interest in being a motor officer, here are a few thoughts. Does your agency have a motor / traffic unit? If so, I would suggest you start speaking with those in the unit, most notably, the supervisors. Ask them what the best course of action is to get into the unit. Every agency may be looking for something different with their applicants. An agency may not care how many tickets you write as a patrol officer. They may be looking at overall performance and how well rounded you are. This includes dealing with the public, pro-active enforcement, etc. There are other agencies that will focus on the quantity of tickets you write and the collisions you investigate as a patrol officer. If you do not write any tickets or investigate any collisions, this may not help you during the interview process.
I believe the best quality for those who want to be motor officers are those who are well rounded in their work. Regardless of whether they investigate a burglary or a collision, they do a thorough job. They have good pro-active numbers, both in traffic enforcement and patrol work. I also think it is imperative that you get along with the public. Being professional, courteous and even tempered are important qualities of a motor officer.
Most agencies will have some type of interview process, which there may be several applicants. You will have to answer the interview questions and sell yourself as to why they should choose you as the next motor officer.
With all of that said, you will most undoubtedly have to attend a motor school. Motor schools range from 80 hours to 160 hours in duration. Motor school is not easy. I personally know SWAT operators and even one US NAVY SEAL, who said that motor school was the hardest school they had ever attended. You have to trust your instructors and your equipment, namely your motorcycle. Fear keep sus safe, but if you are truly afraid to do what your instructors ask you to do, motor school may not be for you.
Having prior motorcycle experience is not necessary either. In fact many motor instructors believe it can be easier to instruct someone who has no prior riding experience, because they do not have any bad habits. With that said, you will have to have a basic understanding of how motorcycles operate and most likely you will at least have to obtain a learners permit in order to attend motor school. This is all information you will get from your agency.
Lastly, maybe you work for an agency that does not have a motor unit. In this case you have a lot of work to do to put a unit together. First your administration has to want a motor unit. If they feel there is a need then you have to start outlining how to put the unit together, including costs, equipment needs, etc. The best way to do this is to reach out to other agency motor units in your area and start gathering information. I have seen motor units develop from scratch and I will tell you it is a lot of work, but can be accomplished if you are organized.
Hopefully this provides you with an understanding of how to become a motor officer whether you are thinking about becoming a police officer or you are already in the brotherhood. I have to say that being a motor officer has been one of my most satisfying career positions I have had.