Pittsburgh motorcycle police, paramedics to compete in Motor Skills Training
Weaving motorcycles around cones in tight formations helps prepare Pittsburgh's motorcycle officers for real challenges such as last weekend's Kenny Chesney concert.
“The streets around Heinz Field were parking lots,” said Pittsburgh police Sgt. Terry Donnelly, who supervises the city's 26-member motorcycle unit. “We had to drive in between cars to get what we needed done. The training we do here transfers to the streets.”
Pittsburgh police expect up to 55 motorcyclists to compete in this year's Steel City Police Motor Skills Training event that begins Thursday on the South Side. Most of the riders are police officers, but two city paramedics also will compete on the 10 obstacle courses on department-issued motorcycles. Competitors will practice Thursday and Friday at the lot off South 26th Street. Competition begins Saturday morning.
“It shows off the abilities the different officers have,” Donnelly said. “When they come and see the high level of skills officers have, it's amazing to the public.”
The city first hosted the competition in 2011 and raised about $13,000 for charity. This year, money will be donated to Special Olympics of Allegheny County, Donnelly said.
“You can't beat that organization for what they do,” he said.
Pittsburgh Emergency Medical Services has two motorcycles and about a dozen paramedics trained to ride them, acting EMS Chief Mark Bocian said. Paramedics use the motorcycles for events such as Steelers games, the Pittsburgh Marathon and parades, he said.
“The big advantage is they can get through large crowds easier than an ambulance or anybody else,” Bocian said.
Donnelly said the two paramedics who will compete “want to participate in this thing as part of camaraderie with the police,” Bocian said. “Our folks train with the police cycle guys. Certainly, the training and the skill set they pick up is not going to hurt them.”
Officers from cities in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, South Carolina and Canada are expected to take part, Donnelly said. In 2011, an officer from Fairfax, Va., took first place, beating out University of Pittsburgh Officer Brian Kopp.
“He was very fluid going through the course,” said Kopp, who has been in Pitt's motorcycle unit for seven years. “My turn came up and I just tried to go as fast and clean as possible.”
Kopp has been battling cancer and “off the bike” for the past year. He receives chemotherapy every month but said he's looking forward to the competition.
“It definitely makes you a safer rider,” Kopp said. “It makes you more aware and able to control the motorcycle.”
Margaret Harding is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8519 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Downtown Pittsburgh Macy’s donates bits of history
- Guns, drugs recovered during raid in Wilkinsburg
- Pittsburgh zoo receives $9M gift — largest ever — from Mellon Foundation
- Allegheny County Airport Authority approves 3.4 percent budget increase for 2016
- Founder of Operation Safety Net in Pittsburgh named one of CNN’s 2015 Top 10 Heroes
- Siblings sue over gas rights in Jefferson Hills land parcel
- Upper St. Clair lifeguard ordered to stand trial for rape of female lifeguard
- North Hills transit service limits lamented
- Pittsburgh considering legislation to ban drone activity from city parks, playgrounds
- Bishop Zubik visits Mooncrest Community Center
- Sky’s not the limit: Pirate Parrot takes trip into Earth’s atmosphere