Salt Lake City officers train for spot on department’s motorcycle squad

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The Salt Lake City Police Department has had a motorcycle squad for 107 years, and this week several hopefuls began training for a spot on that team.

Officers began a two-week course in Saratoga Springs last week, and the training is an annual event.

“We're looking for that person that’s self-motivated, good, positive attitude, that’s going to work well,” Sgt. Brandon Hansen said.

The squad has five vacancies at present.

“It’s a good assignment, a good squad to be on,” Hansen said. “We have guys that have been here, a couple over 20 [years], some 15-plus.”

The trainees will be evaluated using a variety of criteria.

“They're gonna work on different patterns, start out a little easier, and then it progresses,” Hansen said.

Only the best will make Sgt. Hansen's squad. Jeremy Jackson hopes to be one of them.

“I had never ridden a motorcycle in my life,” he said. “Four wheelers, yes, never motorcycles.”

Now Jackson is weaving through cones, but some day he could be winding his way through an accident scene or even riding among pedestrians.

“Each new thing makes me a little nervous, but as I do it and become comfortable with it, it’s no longer nerve-racking to drive at the higher speeds or lean the bike side-to-side or go to low-speed maneuvers,” he said.

Hansen said it’s a step-by-step process.

“We're going to do stuff like this here in a nice, controlled environment before we take them out and put them in the real world,” he said.

The training will continue for one more week, then the officers who scored the highest will be invited to join the motorcycle squad.