Motorcycle officers from five states are on the coast sharpening their skills. The Gulfport Police Department is hosting a three week long Police Motorcycle Operator Training Course. Instructors say the class shows officers how to safely operate and maneuver their bikes.
Weaving. Balancing. Stopping in a hurry. Of all the skills motorcycle officers are picking up, Gulfport Lieutenant Rob Curry says he's discovered his greatest obstacle.
"The 360 degrees," said Curry. "You have to come in and you have to completely lock the handle bars on the bike while leaning it and it's challenging."
Curry is one of 17 officers learning to ride a motorcycle in a way that's safe for them and the public. Also on site were five officers who are expert riders, but need training to become instructors.
Chris Wrubel of Schenectady, New York said, "I'm from upstate New York and we don't have as many qualified instructors as we would like to see. The more instructors we have available, the more motorists we can put out, quality trained motor operators, we can provide for the citizens."
"As an instructor, you're responsible now for operation and also watching a group of other people, and being able to teach them and give them the tools necessary to be able to operate a motorcycle in a police setting."
At the end of the three week course, officers will be eligible for accreditation from the Northwest University Center For Public Safety. But first, they'll endure some rigorous testing.
"That is the primary difference between motor officer that's trained for a police department and a recreational motor rider," said Wrubel. "We try to stress very, very deeply that safety of the officer. Proper operation and control of your motorcycle is paramount at all time. "
Officers like Rob Curry say the know-how they get here will make them more confident on the streets.
"I already feel like I'm a better rider," said Curry. "I feel like I'm going to come out real good."
The Police Motorcycle Operating Training Course goes all over the country. Harley Davidson supplies all the equipment and an on-site motorcycle mechanic.