POINT PLEASANT — The Mason County Sheriff’s Department has a new addition with not one, not two, but three wheels.
This summer, the department was given a 2011 Spyder Can-Am motorcycle from the West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program, paid for with grant money the program received from the National Highway Safety Administration.
A dedication ceremony for this new piece of equipment was held on Wednesday at Riverfront Park in Point Pleasant. At the ceremony were Sheriff Greg Powers who rode the bike to the event and Beau Evans, Region 2 highway safety director.
“I’m pretty excited about it,” Powers said. “This will draw attention to the department in a positive way.”
Powers said the bike will be used to visit children in the schools and be a visual component to the DARE program, it will be used in parades, funerals and other public events. However, just because it’s interesting to look at, doesn’t mean it isn’t useful. The bike will also be used for speed enforcement with the sheriff saying, despite the decals clearly marking it as a part of the sheriff’s department, speeders don’t seem to pay attention to it. This illustrates the fact that it is a different addition to not only the department but the community.
“We had it sitting in front of the department the other day and in 20 minutes, we had about 15 people stopping to look at it and take pictures…it’s something different,” Powers said.
The bike, which is a 2011 model, was originally sent to the Barboursville Police Department, but over time, Evans said it wasn’t being fully utilized. Evans said Mason County was a perfect second home for the motorcycle, given its location of major highways and the enforcement required to keep those routes safe. In addition, in provides a dual purpose which includes community outreach by being an “eye catching” conversation piece that can travel to different events.
Powers said there are around six people in his department who have endorsements to ride the bike with some special training to follow. The bike has the bells and whistles of an air suspension system and a power windshield that can be automatically adjusted with the touch of a button. However, as it has function as well as form, Powers added it also has a camera, radar, police lights and siren.
Currently, the department only has around $280 in the bike to put the appropriate identifying decals on it.
“You can’t beat the price,” Powers said on what basically amounted to getting a new motorcycle for free, and not just any motorcycle, saying he researched estimates on how much the bike cost to purchase which was around $27,000.
“This adds another tool to law enforcement’s efforts of reducing injuries and fatalities along West Virginia roadways. This bike will allow the department to be more visibly present in the community and it also creates a great conversation piece for the public and the department as this bike is not an ordinary looking motorcycle” Evans said.
The bike has already been featured in the Mason County Fair Parade and was on display outside the sheriff’s office on the fair grounds.
“The Mason County Sheriff’s Department is a dedicated department to making sure our roadways remain safe year round. Many fugitives, drug dealers, and criminals are caught because of the excellent traffic enforcement conducted by the sheriff’s department and law enforcement department all across the state,” Evans added.
Reach Beth Sergent at [email protected] or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.