The Orange Leader
Orange County deputies may not be popping wheelies anytime soon, but the department’s new motorcycle could help them reach areas in an emergency that are not accessible by other vehicles.
Orange County commissioners granted approval Tuesday for the Sheriff’s Office to accept a donation of a 2000 Kawasaki KL650 motorcycle.
The motorcycle is part of military surplus and was acquired in September of 2009. The OCSO has not had a motorcycle in the past.
“In no means are we starting a motorcycle unit for the department,” Orange County Sheriff Keith Merritt said.
Merritt said the bike was offered to the office when the OCSO won a bid for another piece of equipment.
“Bid is the wrong term,” Merritt said. “There was no money involved. We submitted our name for selection in being awarded the equipment.”
When the deputies arrived to pick up the donated equipment, the motorcycle was offered as well.
“It was covered with sand and had 57 miles on it,” Orange County Chief Deputy Clint Hodgkinson said. “It needed work, but it is running now.”
The OCSO requested the motorcycle to be entered as inventory for the OCSO.
Hodgkinson also said the unit would be used for areas in the county that were difficult to access by ATVs.
“If you need it and you got it, great.” Hodgkinson said. “The one time you need it, it is great to have.”
County Judge Carl Thibodeaux said he is not a fan of motorcycles.
“It is not the riders,” Thibodeaux said. “It is because others are not aware of them.”
Thibodeaux also said that free was nice but the county was responsible for paying insurance on it and the upkeep.
Hodgkinson said that only already licensed deputies would be permitted to use the motorcycle.
“Prior to using the ATVs, the deputies had to take a special training course,” Hodgkinson said.
Commissioner Pct. 1 David Dubose said, “Merritt is not going to ask unless there is a possible need for it.”
The court approved adding the motorcycle to the OCSO inventory.