LINDEN, NJ — The Linden Police Department hosted its fourth Northwestern University and Harley-Davidson police motor training at Linden Airport, an intense three-week program that kicked off Oct. 17.
Approximately 10 police departments from New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania took part in the police motorcycle training course, which trains new motor officers, as well as certifying new instructors who are already certified motor officers.
The program is funded by Harley-Davidson, one of the largest motorcycle manufacturers in the United States. Northwestern University’s Center for Public Safety is the accrediting agency for the program, and two-full time instructors were there to provide training in all aspects of police motorcycle operations.
Harley-Davidson supplied the program with 22 bikes, a full-service mechanic on-site housed in a fully-equipped tractor trailer, and fuel — all amounting to a cost of about $1 million. Some of the bikes are sold at auction once the program is concluded.
According to Lt. Michael Babulski, commander of the LPD Police Motor Unit, the course provides candidates with approximately 10 cone patterns to navigate, some at slow speeds, others at high speeds, in order to teach speed maneuvers and braking skills. “The unit has grown to include seven Harley-Davidson motorcycles, and is considered one of the finest motor units in Union County” Babulski told LocalSource in a phone call.
The LPD currently has 10 officers who are certified operators, four of whom are certified instructors, as well as seven Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
Paul Dudley, Director of Linden Airport, located on W. Edgar Road in Linden, said that he was excited to host the program for the first time. “Linden Police Department reached out and asked if we could host it,” Dudley told LocalSource in a phone call. “They have a couple dozen brand new, shiny models.”
According to Dudley, the event is a great way to build a sense of community, and shows people what Linden is all about. “I think it shows that Linden is far more involved in these things that people don’t know about,” Dudley said. “They’re important for our town, and important for our police department. I think it’s a morale boost and it’s great training for these guys.”
LPD Chief of Police Jonathan Parham said that he was grateful to all those involved in the training program. “Both Harley Davidson and the Linden Police Department have come to be known as symbols of excellence,” Parham told LocalSource in an email. “It is exciting to be able to host this incredibly demanding training. However, we would not be able to host this event without the cooperation of our longstanding partner Paul Dudley, the owner and facility manager of the Linden Airport.”
The relationship between Northwestern and Harley-Davidson dates back to the 1940s and flourished after a donation from a private citizen revived the program in 2005.
Babulski said that the LPD is grateful to all involved for making the training program possible. “Harley has a big financial investment in this,” Babulski said. “Students are required to intentionally crash the motorcycles over and over again to learn how to safely recover, so the bikes get pretty beat up. Without the motorcycles provided by Harley-Davidson, local departments wouldn’t be able to afford it. Linden Airport, Harley-Davidson and Northwestern were great to us and really supported us.”
On Tuesday, Nov. 1, the public was invited to Linden Airport to see the motorcycles and custom Harley-Davidson tractor trailer on display.