Why is the Michigan State Police Saying Goodbye to its Motorcycle Division?
For almost 100 years, motorcycles have been part of the Michigan State Police. Now the MSP has made the decision to disband the elite unit.
Troopers on Harley Davidson motorcycles replaced horses for standard highway patrol back in 1924 and have been a fixture on the roadways for the MSP since then. Members of the motorcycle unit will now leave the bikes behind and make the switch to patrol cars as the MSP says goodbye to the unit.
So why the change? According to reports, Michigan State Police commanders indicate it is a number of operational factors driving the decision. Michigan State Police 1Lt Michael Shaw told the press that safety is one significant reason for the change. There have been two troopers killed on motorcycles since 2015.
Many will remember the tragic loss of Trooper Chad Wolf of Fenton in 2015. Wolf, part of the motorcycle division, was killed while on motorcycle patrol when a vehicle towing an empty trailer traveling in the left lane quickly changed lanes. As the vehicle changed lanes, it struck Trooper Wolf's motorcycle and Trooper Wolf was dragged for four miles.
Those who were part of the iconic unit were a closely bonded group. Retired MSP Trooper Tommy Vaughn Jr., who happened to be Trooper Wolf's partner in the unit, says it was hard after Wolf's passing, but being part of the unit was thrilling.
"Yes, it's dangerous but it was my favorite time in the State Police. It was the closeness to your teammates. I knew my back was covered because my brothers were there and vice versa", he told us.
Although the unit will be greatly missed, the MSP feels confident in making the change. There is no official date as to when the last motorcycle will leave the road for the MSP.
25 True Crime Locations: What Do They Look Like Today?
LOOK: What major laws were passed the year you were born?