Motorcycle officers compete on obstacle course

By Steve Phillips - bio | email

D'IBERVILLE, MS  (WLOX) - Motorcycle officers from across the state displayed their riding skills in D'Iberville on Thursday. That's where the Mississippi Law Enforcement Association held its annual conference. When it comes to competition, police motorcycle riders get serious.

"We need rider number one on the course," boomed the public address announcer, "And rider number eight to stand by."

They are brothers in law enforcement, but once the competition begins, things get intense.

"We take it very seriously. It's all fun when we're off the track. But when you're on the track, it's serious," said officer Savanneo Terrell from Meridian.

That seriousness includes plenty of tight turns, expert braking and precise acceleration. Then there are those pesky orange cones. They are the obstacle course enemies.

"Go through each obstacle without hitting the cones. If you bump one, it's so many seconds added to your time and all. The purpose is trying to go through without having any cones knocked over or bumping any cones," said Tim Davidson with the Mississippi Highway Patrol.

Savanneo Terrell of the Meridian PD enjoyed one of the smoothest rides of the morning competition. He made it look easy.

"The toughest thing is when you pop it back up to go through the gates. You got to make sure you don't nip a cone. 'Cause sometimes it's real tight up in there," he explained.

The obstacle course is not only a competitive proving grounds, it's great training for the streets. Getting out of a tight spot on the course teaches the kind of moves they may need to avoid getting hit.

"If you get into a trouble situation and it teaches you to do it in a short distance where you can control your bike and keep from getting hurt and having an accident," said officer Jimmy Brooks with the Madison Police Department.

"It's all about control of the bike," said Davidson, "You've just got to learn that. That comes just with riding a lot."

"We all do it to have a good time, but that training is the thing we want. To get that training so when we get on the street, we can be safe and come home at night," said Brooks.

The top motorcycle rider will receive a special award at a banquet held Thursday night. That award is named in honor of Gulfport's Rob Curry; the motorcycle officer who was killed in a traffic accident last summer.

©2009 WLOX. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.