FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!
Paul Clinton

Paul Clinton

As the POLICE Web editor, Paul Clinton contributes posts about patrol cars, motorcycles, and other police vehicles. He previously wrote about automotive electronics as managing editor of Mobile Electronics. Prior to that, he was an award-winning newspaper reporter.



William Harvey

William Harvey

William "Bill" Harvey is currently serving as chief of police in south central Pennsylvania. He retired from the Savannah (Ga.) Police Department where he worked assignments in training, patrol, and CID. Harvey has more than 25 years of experience working with recruits, rookies, and FTOs.
Careers

Boston PD's Mobile Operations Unit

MOP officers must be cross-trained in motorcycles and SWAT.

September 28, 2012  |  by - Also by this author

Boston PD's Mobile Operations Patrol officers handle escorts, event management, SWAT callouts, and traffic enforcement. Photo: Paul Clinton
Boston PD's Mobile Operations Patrol officers handle escorts, event management, SWAT callouts, and traffic enforcement. Photo: Paul Clinton

The U.S. Secret Service defers to the Boston Police Department when Mitt Romney needs a police escort. The security assignment for the presidential candidate falls to Boston PD's Mobile Operations Patrol (MOP) unit.

When Romney travels to or from fund-raisers and other campaign events, MOP officers lead the escort of "Javelin"—a code name referring to the pony car produced by Romney's father's company, American Motors Corp.

Mobile Operations Patrol is a multi-faceted specialized unit that demands its officers be proficient in motorcycle handling as well as tactical operations. Members of the unit also suit up as SWAT operators.

The MOP unit, which began in 1912 when two Boston officers began using their Indian motorcycles on patrol, is a part of the department's Special Operations Division that also includes specialized units such as the bomb squad, K-9 unit, harbor patrol, HazMat, and commercial enforcement.

Getting into the tight-knit MOP unit is a stiff challenge; staying there may be even tougher.

"Having the SWAT and motorcycle units together finds a way to defeat people, but because of the equipment and training the department gives us it's manageable," said Lt. Kevin McGoldrick, the unit commander.

Once an officer is accepted, he or she must complete the department's motorcycle training, and then its SWAT school. Only six officers aren't SWAT trained, including the unit's two female officers. A lieutenant oversees 50 officers and six sergeants with a waiting list of about 22 candidates from the pool of about 2,000 sworn personnel.

Mobile Operations Patrol officers handle executive and funeral escorts, crowd management, SWAT callouts, and traffic enforcement. They work on Harley-Davidson FLHP Road Kings or in two-man unmarked tactical cars.

Officers may have started on Indians, but the Boston PD has been relying on Harleys since at least the 1950s. The bikes bring a presence to big events, and have been a reliable workhorse for the department.

"The Harleys have visibility," said Lt. McGoldrick. "There's a lot to be said for a big motorcycle."

Two mechanics manage 60 H-D cruisers mostly from 2005 and sooner. The agency purchases up to six motorcycles a year to replace older models taken out of service.

When officers join the unit, they're issued a three-quarter helmet, pair of custom-made knee boots, eye protection, a winter jacket, pants, three pair of gloves (light-, mid- and heavier weight) for various climates, boot covers, reflective white cross wraps, an LED flashlight, and either a Glock G21 or SIG Sauer 1911.

Being on the unit doesn't bring much additional compensation. Officers are given an extra $6 a week, a carryover from an earlier time. Officers work four days on and get two off.

Being a member of the unit has its own rewards, and many of its members spend time at each other's off-duty events, said Sgt. Jack Mahoney.

"This unit, the guys stick together," Sgt. Mahoney said. "It's a tight unit."

Related:

PHOTOS: Boston Motor Patrol

Tags: Special Assignments, Boston PD, Motor Patrol, Harley-Davidson


Be the first to comment on this story





POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.

Other Recent Blog Posts

"Unarmed" Suspects and Un-brained Media
Few if any pseudo-journalists or pseudo-pundits on the nightly news have bothered to...
The Aftermath of Police Encounters with “Unarmed” Individuals--57 Murders
According to the FBI’s online database of officers feloniously killed, as well as the...
We Don't Need to Relax Recruit Fitness Standards, We need to Prepare Candidates Better
Fitness standards should not be lowered to accommodate anyone, male or female. The job is...

Get Your FREE Trial Issue and Win a Gift! Subscribe Today!
Yes! Please rush me my FREE TRIAL ISSUE of POLICE magazine and FREE Officer Survival Guide with tips and tactics to help me safely get out of 10 different situations.

Just fill in the form to the right and click the button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.

If POLICE does not satisfy you, just write "cancel" on the invoice and send it back. You'll pay nothing, and the FREE issue is yours to keep. If you enjoy POLICE, pay only $25 for a full one-year subscription (12 issues in all). Enjoy a savings of nearly 60% off the cover price!

Offer valid in US only. Outside U.S., click here.
It's easy! Just fill in the form below and click the red button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.
First Name:
Last Name:
Rank:
Agency:
Address:
City:
State:
  
Zip Code:
 
Country:
We respect your privacy. Please let us know if the address provided is your home, as your RANK / AGENCY will not be included on the mailing label.
E-mail Address:

Police Magazine