New Castle News

July 18, 2013

Neshannock purchases police motorcycle

John Finnerty
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — A used Harley Davidson motorcycle with nearly 11,000 miles and full police package was described as a bargain.

But only two of Neshannock Township’s three supervisors were buying.

The 2000 Harley Davidson cycle, formerly owned by the New Castle police, was purchased through the local Harley shop at trade-in value — $7,115.50.

Supervisors Ed Stevens and Ralph Sheen voted Tuesday to accept the vehicle, which they said was too good a deal to walk away from.

However, Supervisor Joe Gierlach voted no, questioning if the township really needs a motorcycle.

“It’s a want, not a need,” he said. “Not one township (police department) has one.”

Gierlach said he had spoken with Lt. John Rand of the Neshannock police department.

“I asked what use we would have for it. He said motorcycles could be used for parades and funerals,” Gierlach said. “How many parades do we have coming through the township? And can’t they use a police cruiser for funerals?”

Gierlach added this is the second department purchase this year that had not been included in the budget, referring to the police canine.

After the meeting, he said the township had spent $6,000 for the dog, $6,000 on training for the animal and handler and $2,000 to equip a police vehicle for it — none of which had been budgeted.

Gierlach added a motorcycle could be used “only four months of the year.”

The other supervisors were more enthusiastic.

“It’s a great asset and we’re getting a great deal,” Sheen said.

Stevens added the motorcycle could be used for traffic control. He pointed out four of the township’s officers are licensed to drive a motorcycle — “70 percent of the force.”

Rand said the department has discussed the possibility of obtaining a motorcycle for three or four years.

“When I learned from a New Castle officer that a bike would be available and we could get it at trade-in value, I couldn’t believe it.”

Rand said it will be used for public relations and traffic control.

“We get complaints of speed and stop sign violations in the neighborhoods,” he said. “A motorcycle could blend in to neighborhoods a lot easier than a marked patrol car.”

He added the motorcycle the township is getting, “is in fantastic shape. All we’ll really need to do is put Neshannock on it.”

Rand said a bike with the police package would cost $21,000 to $24,000 new.

“Many used motorcycles are 10 or 20 years old and from Washington, D.C., or Pittsburgh, from big cities where they run them year round,” he said, “and they still want $10,000 to $13,000 for them.

“This is a real find for the department.”

Rand said his other dream — a K-9 — was also realized this year.

“That dog has been such an asset to the department,” he said. “We’ve done so much with him and he’s only been on the street since April.”