Behind the scenes of the SLCPD motorcycle division

SALT LAKE CITY — On Friday, in an operation on the city’s east side, the Salt Lake City Police Department’s Motor Squad targeted speeders on Sunnyside Avenue and surrounding streets.

A total of 130 drivers were arrested for speeding. Ninety-seven received tickets and 33 received warnings.

Most worrying was the day’s top speed of 76 miles per hour in a 30 mph zone.

Friday’s mission was simple: catch up on speeding.

“Speeding in Utah has increased exponentially. We see it, the public sees it,” SLCPD Sgt. Andrew Jackson said. “The speeding crashes we have here in Salt Lake City are higher than in most other cities.

Officials say the public complained about Sunnyside Avenue in particular, so the SLCPD investigated the area. In a “little amount of time”, more than 10,000 cars were traveling at least 10 miles per hour over the street speed limit.

“Motorcycling makes traffic much easier. We’re a lot more nimble,” Jackson said, but added that they’re doing more than just traffic checks.

Things like targeted DUI stops, VIP escorts, event protection, and dignitary protection are all duties of these officers.

The department’s motorcycle unit was the first in the whole country, started in 1909.

Since then, thousands of officers like Jackson have challenged themselves to take the difficult training to become motor officers.

“Seeing a policeman on a motorcycle was one of the most interesting things I’ve ever seen,” Jackson said. “Since I was little, that’s all I ever wanted to do.”

About Frances R. Smith

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