Police Motor Units
The History of Motorcycle Law Enforcement

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Cookeville, TN Police Department

By Captain Randy Brown


The Cookeville Police Department is located in the heart of the Upper Cumberland inside Putnam County, Tennessee, along Interstate 40.  The department is made up of an Administrative Division, Patrol Division, Criminal Investigation Division, and Traffic Division.  The Cookeville Police Department employs 73 sworn officers.  The city covers approximately 32,000 residents with an influx in population to around 80,000 during the day due to work and other events. 

      The original CPD Motor Unit consisted of a Harley-Davidson Servi-Car that was purchased in 1958 by the department and primarily used for parking meter service.  In the early 1970s that Servi-Car was sold to local resident Butch Masters.  Mr. Masters has restored the Servi-Car to its original condition and has offered the Servi-Car back to the department for display at any time. After the Servi-Car was sold, the department chose to add two motorcycles to its fleet in the mid to late 1970s.  Those Units were used until approximately 1989 and were sold, ending the Motor Unit at that time.

     In 2008 the department, now under the command of Chief Robert Terry, brought back the Motor Unit with two 2008 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide motorcycles.  They were assigned to the Traffic Division commanded by Major Mark Maxwell.  Three officers were certified in basic police motor operation.  The motors were utilized in such a way that Chief Terry and Major Maxwell saw such an overwhelming response from the community of the need for two more motor units.  In 2010 the Cookeville Police Department Traffic Division Motor Units increased to four Harley-Davidson Electra Glide bikes and five certified operators.  The Cookeville Police Department’s Traffic Division now has a Motor Unit that consists of seven certified riders with six Harley-Davidson Electra Glide motorcycles.  The bikes are currently leased from Boswell’s Harley-Davidson of Cookeville. 

     In June 2012, the Cookeville Police Motor Unit assisted with the Tennessee State HOG (Harley Owners Group) Rally, with the main event taking place at the Putnam County Fairgrounds.  Thousands of riders came to town and participated, and the response from all those who participated was so overwhelming that the chapter members voted unanimously and have committed to holding the rally in Cookeville again in 2014.  Our Motor Unit received many compliments, expressions of thanks and positive comments about the officers that worked this event.   

     The Cookeville Police Department Motor Unit completed in its first Law Enforcement Motor Rodeo in May 2011 at the Music City Police Motorcycle Skills & Training Competition held in Nashville and hosted by the Tennessee highway Patrol.  The Cookeville Police Department was asked to be a co-host of the 2011 Music City Police Motorcycle Skills & Training Competition and continued to co-host the 2013 annual event.  The rodeo is an event for law enforcement motor officers only, and all proceeds raised support the non-profit organization “COPS” which assists families of fallen officers in Tennessee.  The 2013 Music City Police Motorcycle Skills & Training Competition was held at Opry Mills, Bass Pro Shop parking lot from May 1 through May 4, 2013 in Nashville, with many supporters, spectators, vendors and of course competitors from all over the United States.  Ride Safe and stay safe.

Left to Right: Major Mark Maxwell, Officer Glen Ramsey, Officer Ryan Moore, Officer Shannon Smith, Lt. Randy Brown, Sgt. Calvin Anderson, Sgt. Mitch Harrington, and Chief Robert Terry 


Information and Photos provided by Captain Randy Brown of the Cookeville, TN Police Department.  Information is also found in the Harley-Davidson magazine "The Motor Officer"