ST. GEORGE – About a dozen Nevada law enforcement officers hit the highway on their hogs Thursday to log about 400 miles on an endurance ride. The group started in Las Vegas, Nevada, cruised up to Caliente, Nevada, and then rode east into rural Southern Utah, traveling down state Route 18 and ending up in St. George.
The ride was part of a motor school training for officers from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the Nevada Highway Patrol.
“These guys have spent the better part of the last three weeks learning to ride these motors and work off them in a police capacity,” Las Vegas Metro Police Sgt. Rob Stauffer said.
During the school, the trainees have largely been performing exercises in parking lots, he said, doing slow maneuvering, 30-40 mph braking exercises and activities like that as they learn to ride motorcycles on the job.
“Today is their first time kind of out and away from that,” Stauffer said. “They’ve all passed their final riding test, and now we’re doing an endurance ride.”
In addition to the students, instructors from Las Vegas Metro and the Nye County Sheriff’s Office in Nevada participated in the endurance ride. A repair vehicle hauling an extra motorcycle also accompanied the cavalcade.
“Because we have such a large number of bikes, we bring a mechanic and (an extra) bike,” Stauffer said, “so that if one of the students’ bikes break down there’s no delay time in waiting for a tow or anything – we roll that bike off, put him on the bike and he goes, and the mechanic will drag the broken bike back.”
Breakdowns have happened on previous endurance rides, he said, but all was smooth sailing on Thursday.
“We’ve had no problems today,” Stauffer said.
Cpl. Greg Curtin said he has been with the Nye County Sheriff’s Office for nine years. He and another member of the Sheriff’s Office have been attending motor school because Nye County is reinstating its motor division. The two men are training to be motorcycle officers, and as members of the motor division, they will respond to traffic accidents, write citations, handle DUIs and perform other duties of that nature.
Curtin and the other Nye County trainee have earned the nicknames “Maverick” and “Goose” during the motor school, after the characters in the 1985 movie “Top Gun.”
“I’m Maverick, because during some of the training exercises I just kind of flew by the thing and didn’t actually complete the exercise when we were training, so I got the nickname Maverick,” Curtin said.
“We did a flyby,” he added with a laugh.
After stopping for sustenance at Chuck-A-Rama in St. George, the endurance riders hopped on I-15 to take an easier route back to Nevada – no more rural roadways.
“We’ll jump on the freeway from here and head back towards Vegas,” Stauffer said.
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