Motorcycle Unit

The Bristol Police Department has a Motorcycle Unit that has been in existence for many years. The Motorcycle Unit is a unit within the Patrol Division. The Police Motorcycle has been used in police work since the early 1900s. It is said that police officers on motorcycles replaced police officers on horses. Until early 2000, a Police Officer with a valid motorcycle license was eligible to operate the police motorcycle.
Bristol Police Department Officer Badge


In the year 2000 the Bristol Police Department purchased a 2000 FLHP-I Harley-Davidson, Police Edition, Road King. With the purchase of this highly engineered piece of equipment, along with a substantial growth in traffic, the training and operating procedures were revised. The present Bristol Police Departments Motor Officer is a Rhode Island Licensed Motorcycle operator. In addition he/she must complete a specialized police motor officer course, specifically designed for police motor officers. The course is a grueling two-week hands-on course, designed by Northwestern University in cooperation with the Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Company.
Currently Rhode Island has only two motorcycle instructors in the state; we are extremely fortunate to have Patrolman Gregory Silvia as an instructor for this course. Patrolman Silvia attended the Northwestern University Police Motorcycle Instructor Training Program in Weymouth, Massachusetts from April 10 - April 28, 2017. 

This course prepares instructor candidates to teach the Police Motorcycle Operator Training course. The first week familiarizes the student with set-up and instruction of basic practical exercises while the second and third weeks of Instructor Training overlap with the Police Motorcycle Operator course to give instructor candidates hands-on experience teaching students.

Role & Responsibilities
The Bristol Motorcycle unit is most notably been known as the very first unit leading the Bristol Fourth of July Parade. The Police motorcycle is capable of maintaining and patrolling an area similar to that of a patrol car. Many times the police motorcycle is able to patrol areas such as the waterfront boardwalk, the Town Common and the East Bay Bike path with little or no impact on the people utilizing and enjoying these areas.

The motor officer is a community-orientated arm of the Police Department, able to easily interact with Bristol residents and visitors. In addition to patrolling the streets and areas of Bristol, the motorcycle unit on many occasions, in fair and foul weather, acts as an ambassador, representing the Bristol Police Department and the Town of Bristol to other cities and towns in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts, assisting with events such as dignitary escorts, funeral escorts, and organized motorcycle events.


The Bristol Police Motorcycle Unit presently consists of 9 staff members, all of which are graduates of the Northwestern University Police Motor Officer course and are all motorcycle enthusiasts with years of riding experience.