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Motorcycle patrols are back on the streets of Fargo after sporadic use in recent years | The Mighty 790 KFGO

Motorcycle patrols are back on the streets of Fargo after sporadic use in recent years | The Mighty 790 KFGO

Fargo police officer Troy Nielsen

FARGO (KFGO) – Fargo Police are once again using motorcycles for speed enforcement and other traffic enforcement purposes.

The bikes first appeared in 2012 when Harley Davidson ran a special promotion where police departments could purchase them for a small fee. Since then, they have been seen sporadically on the streets, depending on whether police officers with the appropriate registration and driving license are available to drive them.

Officer Troy Nielsen, who has worked for the department for 24 years and patrols on one of these motorcycles, says Chief Dave Zibolski asked why the motorcycle patrol cars were parked when he came to Fargo nearly four years ago.

“He asked why the machines were gathering dust in the garage,” Nielsen said. “He said, ‘Let’s put them back to use.’ I think he really wants us to use all the resources we have for both traffic enforcement and crime prevention.”

Nielsen says public reaction to the bikes has been mixed.

“You get encouragement from people who really like us and support us. I think everyone likes to see us,” Nielsen said. “There are a few groups of motorcyclists who think it’s appropriate to ride in a way that isn’t productive and shouldn’t be riding on city streets.”

Nielsen says that the reactions of those stopped also vary.

“If someone is driving 100 miles per hour in a 50-mile zone, we might ask where the fire is,” Nielsen said. “Sometimes it’s a shock. Sometimes you think, ‘Well, you got me. I know what I did wrong.’ I think if you just explain to the driver of the vehicle why you’re stopping them and what’s going to happen after you stop, they handle it pretty well.”

The bicycles are equipped with two fixed radar devices and a handheld device.

According to Nielsen, 64th and 72nd Avenues S. are often the main focus of motorcycle traffic, where residents have complained about speeding in their neighborhoods.

Nielsen is South High’s liaison officer during the school year.