But about 20 years ago, the North Bergen Police motorcycle patrol became a thing of the past.
"The previous administration didn't see the need for it," said Police Chief Angelo Busacco.
But last week, the North Bergen Police Department welcomed back the choppers.
"I guess you can say that we're basically reviving an old tradition of having motorcycles," Busacco said. "It's something I've wanted to do for a long time."
The township officially christened eight new vehicles last week: the three new Harley-Davidson high-powered police cycles, four new police cruisers (complete with the standard New Jersey State Police package found in Crown Victoria vehicles), and a new Dodge Durango sport utility vehicle that will be used as a prisoner van and a multi-passenger van.
All eight new vehicles were purchases with funds from the general 2004-05 township municipal budget.
Busacco said that he was very pleased to be able to bring back motorcycles to the regular police vehicle arsenal.
"North Bergen is a township that covers more than five square miles," Busacco said. "We have to patrol the county [both Kennedy Boulevard and Boulevard East] and state [Tonnelle Avenue, also known as State Highways Route 1&9] roads, so we have a lot of ground to cover. With the constant traffic on those roads and with cars constantly double-parked everywhere, it's vital to have something that has easy access. We want to have a pro-active patrol and having these motorcycles help that a great deal."
Busacco said that the new motorcycles have already been put into use in the general patrol log.
"They're primarily used for traffic enforcement," Busacco said. "They'll arrive at motor vehicle accidents and doing accident reports. They can also take care of things that a general patrol car might have some difficulty, like gang related incidents, such as the groups congregating. The motorcycles will be able to get to scenes faster, so they will backup the regular patrol units."
Busacco said that the motorcycles will also be utilized for funeral motorcades and processions, as well as in public functions, such as parades and festivals.
Busacco said that the motorcycles will give police easier access through traffic, crowded areas, what have you.
"They'll be able to move in and out," Busacco said. "They're very mobile."
Trained for the motorcycles Busacco said that three patrolmen have been permanently assigned to the motorcycle patrol. Police Officers Craig Crespo, William Fleischhauser and Robert Farley, Jr. (the son of the decorated police captain) received their training with the vastly experienced Jersey City Police Motorcycle Patrol and became certified to full-time motorcycle duty.
Two other officers, Louis Stitzer and Enrique "Henry" Marrero, are part-time members of the motorcycle squad and will serve as replacements.
"Stitzer had been previously trained, but Jersey City was nice enough to train our other four officers," Busacco said. "Having five of them trained and certified gives us different options and alternatives. Every one of the five already rides motorcycles recreationally, but they still learned things in Jersey City that they never learned before, like how to slide and roll in a crash. They all said they were very impressed."
In honor of the new motorcycle patrol, Robert Ceragno, the owner and optometrist at The Eye Contact Vision Center on Bergenline Avenue, donated six pairs of Ray Ban sunglasses to the police department. Each pair has a value of approximately $150.
"We planned this for a while," Busacco said. "We're happy it all turned out as well as it has thus far."
NEW BIKES - Captain Gary Richmond, North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco, Police Chief Angelo Busacco, and Commissioner of Public Safety Theresa Ferraro pose with the array of new police vehicles the township has purchased, including three Harley-Davidson motorcycles that give the town a motorcycle patrol once again.
SHADES ON US - Robert Ceragno, the owner/optometrist at Eye Contact Vision Center in North Bergen, donated six pairs of Ray Ban sunglasses to the new motorcycle patrol. North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco and other township officials were on hand to thank Ceragno for his generosity.