FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!
Lynne Doucette

Lynne Doucette

Lt. Lynne D. Doucette is a patrol supervisor and defensive tactics trainer with the Brunswick (Maine) PD. Prior to being the first female promoted at BPD, she worked as an undercover detective assigned to the state narcotics task force.



Patricia Teinert

Patricia Teinert

Patricia A. Teinert has been a Texas peace officer since 1984. She has served as a patrol officer, investigator, and member of a juvenile gang and narcotics task force. She is currently a patrol officer with Katy ISD Police Department.
Women in Law Enforcement

Female Motor Officers

Sunglasses, helmet, motor pants, and tall, shiny boots don’t make a motor officer…the skilled woman inside them does.

September 26, 2012  |  by Tina Leman

Officer Tina Leman
Officer Tina Leman

In law enforcement, motor officers are distinguished as the top 2% of this field. Female motor officers, like me, are distinguished as the top 0.2% (roughly) of law enforcement. Now that's accomplishment. What it took to get there wasn't an average walk in the park.

I endured the required two weeks (80 hours in the Florida heat) of physical and emotional drain to become a certified motor officer. When referring to the basic motorcycle officer training class, I had a fellow officer (and retired Marine) say, "That was worse than SWAT school."

Whichever specialized unit you choose—motors, mountain bikes, SWAT, range and water, school resource—training and certification are usually required. I believe motors is in a class of its own. The motor you ride will test your physical abilities, tolerance, emotions, and most importantly, your mind.

You may think, "I cannot possibly turn that bike around from a 90 degree angle, with a wall two feet in front of me, and keep both feet up." But you can. It is merely your mind thinking it cannot be done; the bike will show you it's possible. You may fall, or drop the bike (many times, in my case), but you will learn from each and every drop and fall that only you control where that motor goes.

I never imagined after 10 years combined of road patrol, auto theft investigations, and community policing, that I would become a motor officer. I had always disliked issuing citations and investigating crashes, but after riding around on two wheels for these last few years, there is no other specialized unit I would rather be a part of.

Being a female motor officer in a massively male-dominant field is truly a great feeling of accomplishment. I don't feel there is any special treatment; merely an extra respect for doing it. I have to work twice as hard as my male counterparts to reach my goals, but I know I can do it, and I have overwhelming support from fellow motors.

Often I will come across citizens whose first words are, "Wow, I've never seen a female motor cop. Cool!" Those words are sometimes followed by flattery, "and pretty at that!" I just have to laugh and appreciate the compliment (with sweaty helmet hair). It is especially rewarding when I encounter other females who either give me a thumbs up, or say the famous words, "You go, girl!"

As females, it seems we have to work harder to reach our goals, especially when the professional field chosen is dominated by men. I am proof that we can reach those goals and expectations if we want to. Don't ever give up, and do what it is you want to do.

Now, when I ride my personal motorcycle and pull up next to "those guys" who have been riding for 25 to 30 years, and I ride out of a tight space, or ride a 16-foot circle with both feet up—and scrape my floorboards while doing it—I quickly raise heads, and watch jaws drop. Now that is my idea of fun. I thought I knew how to ride a motorcycle before, but now I have learned to drive one!

Tina Leman is a motor officer and traffic homicide investigator with the Sanford (Fla.) Police Department. She is a 12-year veteran who holds an master's in exercise science and a bachelor's in english literature.

Tags: Motor Patrol, Special Assignments, Pioneering Policewomen


Comments (19)

Displaying 1 - 19 of 19

Ed Mara @ 9/28/2012 8:30 AM

Welcome to the brotherhood. In my 34 year career I spent 7.5 years as a motor and motor sgt. You have earned your wings and may God always keep you safe!

Dustin @ 10/1/2012 7:55 PM

Now you can hand out tickets like hot cakes and say your saving the world. Dont forget to Ride that bike to real police work every now and then!

Tom Conlin @ 10/1/2012 9:38 PM

Dustin, you need to think before you post, because you just stepped on my last nerve, and probably a lot of other good cops out there as well. Motor cops are exposed to more danger every day than any other peace officer. I was in Patrol, SWAT, Detectives, Motors and other assignments for thirty years on a major metropolitan police agency. Motors is the highest risk assignment of them all. In addition, I investigated more fatalities than the average homicide cops did; lots of folks think that's real police work. Motor cops keep more people from killing themselves and others than any other cops. We take impaired jerks from behind the wheel all the time, saving their lives and those of other innocents. Every traffic cop I know probably saved more lives than you have with my ticket-writing; that really is "saving the world" in my book. In addition, we take our bikes through congested traffic to handle "Patrol" calls faster than any four-wheeled coppers can. And we do it exposed on a bike, without rifles and shotguns in most cases.
I'm retired and I still hate to hear that ignorant garbage about how traffic enforcement isn't "real police work." A lot more folks die in crashes every year than die from any other crimes. So, keep your "real police work" comments to yourself, thank you very much. In fact, why don't you round up some gumption and try seeing if you can make it as a motor cop? If you make it, then I might listen to your opinion after you have walked a mile in my motor boots, old son. Unless you've been there, it's wise not to criticize something you can't rightly talk about... I can tell you right now I'd work with Tina Leman any day of the week, just because I know what kind of cop it takes to get where she is. So keep your insulting, uninformed, not-funny or original comments about motor cops to yourself, Dustin. All cops take enough guff from ignorant citizens, we don't need to do it to each other.
Ok, I'm done with the rant now.

Claudia Janka @ 10/2/2012 5:25 AM

Great article. I was a motor officer in 1995. First female motor office in the City of Pompano Beach, FL. Did it for 10 years. Great job and I agree with you Tom. It is real police work and higher risk of getting killed in the line of duty. I'm retired now.

Capt David-Ret LA County @ 10/2/2012 7:04 AM

I guess I am just an old and outdated LEO since my retirement. Why is it such a big deal since the days of bra burning that and out of the closet feminism that such big deals are made when a woman is the '1st' to do something. The 1st woman LEO to blow her nose in the briefing room, the 1st woman to put handcuffs on a 75 year old drunk, the 1st woman this and to do that. It seems more is done to separate the genders than bring them together. How many more qualified men were not considered because this department was being pressured by the feds to have a woman on a motor?? Just a thought that too many big deals are made over very little...

c.britt @ 10/2/2012 9:22 AM

Dustin is unamerican,it shows.

Tina @ 10/2/2012 9:23 AM

I am proud of who I am and what I do. And this is the Women in LE section anyway...don't read it then....but there is always those few...
I really don't care of you or any others opinions because we all know about opinions... At the beginning of this year I watched one of my fellow male motors laid to rest because of an errant driver...I cried in the hospital with several other motor men. I stood on stage in front of hundreds at his funeral and read a hearetfelt poem, only a motor officer would understand. I don't expect, nor do I care if you understand. Usually it is those who don't that feel the need to write the negativity.
I have one good NYPD motor friend who is paralyzed in his legs because of an errant driver. This past month, two south Florida motors were killed by errant drivers....so I will continue to happily write my tickets and enforce traffic law because I love what I do, as do the hundreds of other motor officers out there..... "it's a motor thing...you wouldn't understand!"

Tina @ 10/2/2012 9:31 AM

by the way, as some of you speak the negativity, one of those motor officers is being laid to rest today in Ft Lauderdale, FL...Broward County Motor Deputy Chris Schaub

Lieutenant Janet Aiello, @ 10/2/2012 10:02 AM

I want to go on record that I agree with Claudia,Tom and Ed and their realistic attitudes of Motor Officers, male or female. As a 30 year veteran of a NYC metro area PD, not only were we tasked with traffic enforcement, MVA investigations, Reconstruction, DWI Management et., Sometimes we were dispatched to handle criminal activity calls because the RMP could not get through traffic as fast as we could. I can remember biking sidewalks, highways, city streets, with flow and against it, to reach the location. My best 15 years was as a Motor Officer, even more so when I was designated as the Division's Commander. God, how I miss those years. Stay Alert, Stay Alive and Go Home Safely......

Ed @ 10/2/2012 11:31 AM

You go, Tina! To Dustin and Captain David - go be a troll somewhere else. If you don't care for us motors, then go read some other articles. Captain David - We have all had quite enough of the "Retired LEO" crap thrown at us. You're not really impressed by the 1st woman because you never wanted women in the first place. If I'm looking for back-up, I'll take a female motorcop over a male "captain david" any day of the week. If you don't appreciate someone's accomplishment, then just shut up and click next... keep your ignorance to yourself...

Doug @ 10/2/2012 1:29 PM

A very nice article written by a very good cop. Tina I'm glad to know you and proud to serve with you.

Michelle Angeloff @ 10/2/2012 3:01 PM

Nicely stated Ed. There are very few female motor officers out there. So why not give credit where it is due. Being a motor officer is by far the best job out there. Negative comments towards other officers... Pathetic.

Tom Conlin @ 10/2/2012 7:41 PM

So, author Tina Leman, if you're following this thread, I see you are pictured on one of the new Kawasakis. I'm guessing that's what you work with. I gotta know - how do you like it? I started out on one of the old KZ1000's back in the dark ages, and I loved the acceleration and handling. Took a while to get used to the Harley FLH after working the Kawi for so long. What is the good, the bad, and the ugly of your bike?

Tina @ 10/3/2012 12:06 PM

Ed, Tks! My father retired after 34 yrs..hired 12/31/1969, and he HELPED my mom get hired on. He also has done nothing but support me. He was tickled about this article, and let me share that because of this article being read by people in Boston, I was asked to take part in a monumental display at the American Police MC Museum. -Tom, yes we went to Kawis over a year ago from the Electra Glide. It is different. It def has giddie up and go effect! Still miss the HD for rodeos tho. Saddlebags are huge. Seating position not comfy. Handling is great and leaning. A butt to pick up with its top heaviness....lol.

Paul @ 10/3/2012 1:17 PM

I agree with Capt. David, why do we seperate race and gender in law enforcement? We all wear a badge, we all perform a dangerous job. Why do we need a black law enforcement association and a women's section in a law enforcement magazine. We there is trouble I don't see race or gender I just know help has arrived. All jobs in law enforcement are dangerous.

Michael @ 11/19/2012 6:24 PM

Had the opportunity to meet Tina this Summer and I came away impressed with not only her intelligence and skill, but also her maturity, sense of self, and general happiness in life - all necessary to keep a level head in this world.

Tina: Sorry to hear of the death of your fellow officer - the possibility of dying is always there - and I admire your courage to face the hordes every day.

Congratulations on your selection to the APMC Museum.

Ron Walker @ 1/5/2013 6:45 AM

It is great to hear of a female motor officer. As a retired instructor I never had the chance to train a female officer. I parked my Police Harley in 1997, and last night dreamed of riding the roads with my partner. After leaving Police work I wrote the poem "Motor Officers". Your 80 hours was a real but satisfying challenge I bet. I designed our 80 hr class around the Instructor course (minus the lesson planning part) of the Jacksonville Instructor course in Florida. Congratulations and I am proud to see you riding. Sorry to hear of the death of a fellow officer.
Ride Safe

C. Lam @ 2/25/2013 8:16 PM

As a former LEO, I am always tickled pink (not really) when LEO's get on a publicly accessible forum and brag about how they use their many, many hours of taxpayer paid specialized training to showboat LE skills in their private lives to garner compliments. Good job folks.

Capt. Jay / ret 2003/34 y @ 3/11/2014 11:49 AM

-Although Capt Dave wrote his note 2 years ago, I thought I would put in my 2 cents worth now...Yes. it IS a big thing when a minority breaks the ice here in Law Enforement. I still remember here in Seminole County (12 mi. north of Disneyworld) in 1974, when a black deputy asked his Lt. about a DWI driver he was following, and the Lt "gave permission" to pull the white guy over. 1974! We had one "token" black deputy on each shift, and then only to handle calls in THEIR areas. And we still had NO female deputies. After several years, and prodding by people like me (who had a full page story printed in the Orlando Sunday paper then...and almost losing my job over it )concerning women in police work, our sheriff finally gave in and swore in 4 women, one of whom was Tina's mom. Yes, it is a big thing for a woman to cross thresh holds like these. Tina also put in time on our county/city auto theft bureau, including long night stake-outs, and put in her road time, also a THI!- Tina's Dad

Join the Discussion





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

Just What the Hell Are We Protecting?
I do wonder to what extent the federal employees among our ranks ask themselves whether or...
Remarkable Statistics on Officer Response to Active Shooter Incidents
The author reviews the PERF report on police response and results from 84 active shooter...

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 over 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