Thursday, May 24, 2012

Police bikes: If not a Harley, why not a Royal Enfield?

Suzuki proudly patrols with U.S. Park Police.
Royal Enfield motorcycles, badged as Indians but built in Britain, served many police departments in the United States of the 1950s. So perhaps I should not be upset that the great national monuments in Washington, D.C. are being defended today by — sigh — Suzuki motorcycles built by Japan.

Suzuki at Jefferson Memorial.
Everywhere my family went on a recent tour of the nation's capital we found Suzuki GZ250 motorcycles on the job, protecting the Homeland.

The one pictured here in front of the Jefferson Memorial is operated by the United States Park Police. A Suzuki is even seen on the department's website, proudly patrolling next to its badge.

According to the website, this is a police force created in 1791 by George Washington. It is a unit of the Department of the Interior, with jurisdiction in all National Park areas. Its officers provide protective services to some of the most recognizable monuments and memorials in the world and to visiting dignitaries.

It's not so much the foreign nameplate that bothers me when it comes to protecting monuments to American freedoms. After all, we can assume that Suzuki was just the low bidder on some GSA contract.

Suzuki's motorcycles are no doubt reliable, economical and maneuverable.

No. It's the styling of the GZ250 that bothers me. Police officers are supposed to ride upright standard motorcycles, not laid-back cruisers, styled like mini-choppers.

The Harley-Davidson may be a cruiser, but in police clothes it is the final word in strait-laced authority. Much like a Royal Enfield, if you ask me.
U.S. Park police once used Harleys; and sidecars!

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