Southern California police officer killed in motorcycle accident

Southern California police officer killed in motorcycle accident

Members of a Southern California police department are mourning the loss of a motorcycle police officer in a motorcycle accident. The 41-year-old was killed in a motorcycle accident on a freeway on Monday. The officer was well known within his department as the commander of the traffic bureau who loved riding motorcycles on and off the job.

He was riding his personal motorcycle to pick up his work motorcycle when the fatal accident happened. According to news reports, his motorcycle collided with a vehicle containing a family of seven on the freeway. The death left the department devastated. In May 2011, the unit lost another motorcycle officer in a traffic collision. The two officers were part of a close group who often rode motorcycles together outside of work.

    Police motorcycles can be useful for maneuvering in traffic and for other uses, but they can be dangerous. One California city recently cut back the number of motorcycles in its unit because of these dangers. Bakersfield has about 30 motorcycle officers five years ago. Now it has 11 officers, and the department plans to reduce the number of bikes to four by the end of the year.

    According to news reports, the police chief said the risk to officers is a major reason for the switch. The last two officers to die have been involved in motorcycle accidents, and the officers who have been hurt in motorcycle crashes often have injuries that are much more severe than officers involved in car crashes.

    Sources: NBC 4 Southern California, "Hawthorne Police Department Remembers Officer Killed in Crash," Hetty Chang, July 9, 2013; KGET 17, "Bakersfield police to draw down motorcycles," June 14, 2013

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