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Behind the scenes of the SLCPD motorcycle division

Posted at 9:50 PM, Mar 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-18 23:50:47-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Friday, as a part of an operation on city’s east side, the Salt Lake City Police Department Motors Squad targeted speeders up and down Sunnyside Avenue and surrounding streets.

In total, there were 130 drivers pulled over for speeding. Ninety-seven were ticketed, and 33 were given warnings.

Most disturbing was the day's top speed at 76 miles per hour in a 30-mph zone.

The mission Friday was simple: to catch those speeding.

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

Officials say the public has complained about Sunnyside Avenue in particular, so the SLCPD studied the area. Within a "small amount of time," more than 10,000 cars were going at least 10 miles per hour over the speed limit on the street.

“The motorcycle makes it much easier to get through traffic. We are much more nimble,” Jackson said, but added that they do much more than just traffic enforcement.

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

The department's motorcycle unit was the first one in the entire country, started in 1909.

Since then, thousands of officers like Jackson have challenged themselves to take on the tough training to become motors officers.

“Seeing a motorcycle policeman was one of the neatest things I had ever seen,” Jackson said. "From a little kid, that’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.”