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Federal Way cops get Harleys
Federal Way police will soon welcome two roaring new Harley-Davidson motorcycles to their fleet.
Motorcycles are used in the department’s patrol unit. Currently, five Harley-Davidson bikes and two dual-sport motorbikes are used. Harleys were chosen for their consistency and performance, Chief Brian Wilson said at a Sept. 9 Parks, Recreation, Human Services and Public Safety committee meeting.
Buying the motorcycles, as opposed to leasing them, is expected to be more cost-effective in the long run, he said.
The 2009 Electra Glide FLHTP motorcycles will cost the police approximately $15,365 per vehicle, Cmdr. Stan McCall said. This price tag initially alarmed city council member Jim Ferrell at the committee meeting.
“Well chief, it’s kind of a high-end bike,” Ferrell said.
Ferrell wanted to know what Harley-Davidson had to offer that other motorcycles did not. The department looked at purchasing Honda and BMW bikes, but Harleys are the standard in technology and costs, Wilson said. They are easy to maneuver and safe, he said.
Maintenance costs were taken into consideration, McCall said. Harleys’ turning radius and initial acceleration, among other features, are also preferable, he said.
“So far, the Harleys are doing fine,” McCall said. “We don’t have any significant issues that are causing us concern.”
Beyond cost and performance, consistency in the fleet is important, Wilson said. Police want a uniform look. Safe training on the motorcycles also requires they all vehicles be from the same manufacturer, McCall said.
“Once you select a particular bike, it’s important to stick with it for a while to see what its benefits will be,” he said.
Approximately $7,300 is spent per bike per year to lease the motorcycles, McCall said.
“What we discovered is the leasing itself is considerably cheaper than buying the bike, but there is an (associated) expense that has gone up quite a bit,” he said.
Leasing and maintenance on a Harley costs $1,000 each per year, McCall said. However, equipment, such as lights and a police radio, must also be installed on each leased bike, he said. The motorcycles must also be painted.
When all is said and done, this process costs between $1,500 and $2,500 per motorcycle, McCall said. The leased bikes are exchanged for newer models every few years. The complete install and removal process can cost up to $5,300 per bike, McCall said.
“It’s kind of a wash,” he said.
Another benefit to purchasing the motorcycles is not having to unexpectedly purchase eight or nine new Harleys at once, McCall said. At one time, nearly all the state’s Harley-Davidson dealerships (about 15) offered leasing options, but now only two dealerships extend this offer. If the dealerships quit leasing the bikes, Federal Way police would be stuck purchasing several motorcycles at once, McCall said. By purchasing some now and leasing others, this scenario can be avoided, he said.
The new bikes were ordered in late September and are expected to arrive near the end of this month, McCall said.
Contact Jacinda Howard: firstname.lastname@example.org or (253) 925-5565.