Police Motor Units
The History of Motorcycle Law Enforcement

 "Virtual Museum"

 

 

 

 

Woodland Police Department


The City of Woodland was settled in 1854.  Located in California's central valley, 20 miles north of Sacramento and 90 miles east of San Francisco, the City has its origins in California's rich agricultural history.  Woodland is the county seat, with a population of approximately 54,000 it is the third largest of four cities in Yolo County.  In 1871, the City of Woodland incorporated and elected its first Police Chief, marking the beginning of the Woodland Police Department. 

 

The Department's use of motorcycles for traffic enforcement started in the early 1940's.  In 1945, after four years of service, motor officer Larry Sills was killed while on patrol.  The exact details of the incident are not fully known, but it appeared Officer Sills lost control of his motorcycle at a railroad crossing as he pursued a traffic violator.  Officer Sills died from head injuries as a result of the accident.  To date Officer Sills is the only Woodland Police Officer to be killed in the line of duty.  The loss of Officer Sills, although a tragedy, did not end the use of motorcycles as a part of Woodland's traffic enforcement efforts.  Over time the number of motor units fielded by the department has varied between two and four.  Motorcycles used by the unit have been Harley Davidson, Kawasaki, BMW and most recently the Honda 1300.  The department presently fields three motorcycles, one of which is fund by an Office of Traffic Safety Grant.

 

In 2004, the Department moved into a new police facility. The 54,000 square foot facility is comprised of two buildings.  The main facility, 43,000 square feet, is a two story building where Records, Patrol, Investigations, Traffic, Administrative Services, City and Police Information Systems and Command are located.  The second building is 11,000 square feet and is designated as a service building.  This service building contains a heated and air-conditioned kennel; traffic bay; bicycle bay; SWAT and CNT bay; general storage; hazmat; vehicle impound, and in a half basement, an indoor range; ammunition storage; armory and classroom.  The facility occupies a 3.2 acre city block, located a short distance off Main Street in downtown Woodland.  The new facility replaced a 10,000 square foot building the department had occupied since 1973.  Although located next to City Hall, the old facility had long since been inadequate for supporting the operations of the Department.  The $14,000,000 needed to complete the project came from a combination of development fees and a .5 percent sales tax increase approved by voters in 2000.

 The Project began in November 2000,  when the City contracted with Leach Mounce Architects for a space needs assessment.  two years later in march of 2002, the City requested interested Design Build team to submit proposals for Design and Construction of the new facility.  Then in July the City entered into a contract with the Design Build team of McCarthy Building Company and LPA Inc for completion of the project.  A ground breaking ceremony was held in October after marking the commencement of actual site preparations.  Eighteen months later, in April of 2004, the department moved its operations to the new facility.  The new facility is designed to meet the growth needs of the city for the next 20 years.

 

Since its completion the facility has received many awards; LEED (leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification - by the U. S. Green Building Council (USGBC), it is the second facility in California (and possibly the nation) to receive LEEDS Certification; 2004 Design Award by the Sacramento Valley Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA); 2004 Project of the Year in the category Structures-by the Sacramento Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA); 2004 Real Estate Deal of the Year in the category Best Public Works Project - by the Sacramento Biz Journal and 2005 Best Project in the category Best Public Sector Building under $15 Million - by the Design Build Institute of America (DBIA), this is a national award.  Our new facility is a source of great pride to the community and the men and women who work here. 

 

The Department also takes pride in its commitment to technology.  In the late 1990's, the department was the first in the area to put video cameras in its patrol fleet.  Recently this system was upgraded to a fully digital format that automatically upload the video files over a wireless network into a secure server.  this upgrade has eliminated the need to store video tapes and has significantly improved the retrieval of video need as evidence.  In addition, this video system is integrated into the mobile data capabilities of the patrol vehicles.  Besides being able to access CLETS and CAD information in the field, as well as a variety of internally generated information files, our officers are using a FBR (Field Based Reporting) system allowing much of their crime and traffic reporting to be electronically transferred into our Records Management System.

In 2007, we replaced our computerized evidence tracking system, improving system reliability and ease of use.  In conjunction with this system upgrade we made the move to a digital format for our evidence related photography.  Because of this change we have dramatically reduced physical storage requirements, improved ease of retrieval and eliminated the cost of photo development.  The software upgrade allowed us to put the digital pictures directly into the property and evidence system.

 

The Woodland Police Department is staffed by a diverse work force of 70 sworn officers and 28 civilian employees.  We have a strong commitment to Crime Prevention, Neighborhood Watch, Youth Diversion and Crime Analysis;  all of these programs have been in operation nearly twenty years.  In addition to the traditional patrol, traffic and investigative divisions, we have specialty units with personnel assigned to Special Waepons and tactics, Crisis Negotiations Team, Bicycle Patrol and Honor Guard.  Our patrol officers are deployed in teams working in a Problem-Oriented Policing model.   We believe our mission statement and motto exemplifies and reflects our history and future as a law enforcement agency, "We are Committed to Providing the Highest Quality Law Enforcement Services to the Community".  We are "Proud to Serve".

If you wish to find out more about Woodland Police Department, please visit our website at www.woodlandpolice.org.

 

 

 

 


Photos and Information provided by Woodland, CA Police Department.