Safe Riding

Motorcycle Police Training - How Tough is Tough?

Written by  December 31, 2005

Tuesday, October 25, 2005, I was cordially invited to attend the annual police motorcycle training for Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri officers. Jay Doleshal, training officer, and Lt. John Birkett gave me the exclusive of fighting the cold air that day to come out just west of Kansas Speedway to watch all of the riders who had just one week to obtain all of the points in this rigorous training class. When I arrived I went straight to the trailer to make my appearance and to get hot coffee and donuts.

I was greeted by Jay and police officers from all over the Kansas City metro and Kansas Highway Patrol division. Everyone was eager to get more training underway due to the fact they were on the clock and every point counts. The actual temperature this day was around 38 degrees. After being there and watching all of the courses they had to test on, I really must say those guys really do have a job where weather can be a physical hindrance as well as a safety hazard.

During the training, Richard Guieb (Overland Park, Kansas instructor) told me that the head and eye technique is one of the most important items they look for on all of the course events; if you can’t look and ride, then what’s the point?!
The exercise layout is what Jay called the 180 degree decel which is a closed course. Actually the Speedway parking lot was perfect, in my opinion, due to the large layout and the absence of the race fans that week.

The actual exercises that the students where to be tested on consisted of the following courses:

Break and escape
30 mph cone weave
Evasive maneuvers
90 degree pullout
Lane changes
Box 8
Intersection
Key hole
Slow cone
Offset cone


You can see from this list that this training is difficult. I was told they dump their bikes quite often. I was ready to see that, and yes, there was plenty of that going on. This training is very clutch, throttle and brake oriented. This technique is best suited for 1500 rpm to 1800 rpm, and students are graded for correct head and eye technique.

I don’t know about you, but when I hear that so-called bad-ass biker tell me how good of a rider he is, I will wonder if he or she has ever taken a course given by Jay Dolshal. I have been riding going on 20 years now, and it would be tough for me, I can tell you.

When lunchtime approached we all headed over to Wendy’s for food and fellowship and a little more debriefing on the course structure. Motorcycle police riders have, in my opinion, the best and hardest positions on the force. They have to fight the weather and wear those polyester pants and gloves that they should be wearing while riding snowmobiles instead of the police-issued H-Ds, Honda, Kawasaki or even BMW motorcycles. On a positive note, they do get to ride a motorcycle year round, weather permitting, and that never is bad thing.

Next time you are driving down the freeway and see a motorcycle police bike that has stopped a vehicle, remember that not only do these servants protect and serve us, they also have to battle all of the bad drivers on the roads and the roads themselves—things we take for granted every time we jump into our door slammers every morning when we rush to work.

I want to thank the students and staff who were present that day and for making me feel right at home.

Instructors:
Jay Doleshal-KC, KS
Sgt Gary Todd-KC, KS
Richard Guieb-OVP, KS

Students:
Jared Hansen
Gregg Pruitt
James Hilliker
Curtis Murphy-Suffered an injury and needed 3 stitches.
Chris Wood


B-safe out there!

Story and Photos by Dave Miller