Motorcycle dealer loans bikes to Fairbanks, North Pole police

Posted: Sunday, May 20, 2001

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- With plenty of joking about hogs and pigs, police in Fairbanks and North Pole on Friday took possession of three new Harley-Davidson motorcycles for the summer riding season.

The Harley-Davidson dealership in Fairbanks is lending two motorcycles to the Fairbanks Police Department and one to the North Pole Police Department through the Harley-Davidson police program.

The Farthest North Outpost bought and outfitted the motorcycles, affectionately referred to as hogs, with sirens and police lights for about $20,000 apiece.

The two departments will return the motorcycles to the dealership at the end of the summer riding season.

''The only cost to the police department is the maintenance,'' said dealership partner Chris Chambers.

There will be some kind of enforcement use, but for the first year the motorcycles mostly will be used for motorcycle awareness and for special occasions.

''At the end of the season, if the program is successful we'll make it work every year,'' said Fairbanks Police Chief James Welch.

Farthest North's owners Chambers, John Haddad and Chuck Cartier took over the dealership 10 months ago and wanted to give their Harleys more visibility in the community.

The three police motorcycles, accompanied by seven other Harleys, cruised to North Pole after about 30 enthusiasts gathered to check them out at the Fairbanks dealership Friday.

Welch, who said he has been riding motorcycles since age 12, will be one of the officers riding the new bikes. The other officers selected to ride the motorcycles also have riding experience.

Some, like North Pole Officer Scott Deal, own their own hog.

Deal looked proudly at the white and chrome Road King adorned with North Pole Police Department stickers. The 56 horsepower, 1450cc motorcycle is one of the bigger machines in the Harley-Davidson line.

''It's not loud enough,'' he said, joking. Plus, there's no room for his drug-sniffing dog, Cheyenne. Nevertheless, he approves of the department's newest addition.

Officers said the bikes will be a tool to teach the motoring public to be more aware of those on two wheels.

''It's such a short riding season and there are less-than-perfect driving conditions, people are not used to seeing motorcycles,'' said Fairbanks Officer Matt Soden.



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