Edmonton Police Service motor officers adopt new safety gear.

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Sharp eyed observers may have noticed that Edmonton Police Service motor officers have taken on a modern, new look.  EPS began phasing in the new riding gear for motor officers last year, but for 2013, all motorcycle patrol officers will be wearing the latest protective riding gear.  Gone are the fashion-before-function, traditional garb that EPS motorcycle police have worn for years; clothing that look to have been inspired from the mounted horse era –breeks and shiny, high-polish leather boots topped off with short-sleeve shirts and open face helmets.  This old style motorcycle riding apparel, (still widely used by police forces across Canada and the United States likely due to tradition), provides little protection to the rider in the event of a crash.

Now, EPS motor officers will be wearing bona fide full motorcycle protective apparel purpose-made for police use – hi-visibility yellow motorcycle jackets and pants (with protective armour pads) and full-face coverage helmets.  EPS motor patrol unit head Sgt. Eric Duff says, “The new gear is made of Kevlar mesh and is (crash) rated for 90 kph.  (Kevlar is a high strength synthetic material used in making ballistic or ‘bulletproof’ vests.)  The jacket is 3-piece ensemble, with separate, zip-in, waterproof and fleece liners.  The jacket has armour pads for elbows and shoulders.  The cargo-style riding pants have padded knees and resemble our normal patrol pants.  Each motor officer’s riding outfit is custom made to fit their physique.”  Broad, reflective stripes on the arms, shoulders, front and back of the jacket further increase visibility.

Sgt. Eric Duff shows EPS motor officers' latest motorcycle riding gear.  Modular, full-face helmets with flip-up chinbar, kevlar mesh jackets and riding pants with protective armour are a big improvement to the short sleeve shirts, breeks and open face helmets previously worn.

Sgt. Eric Duff shows EPS motor officers’ latest motorcycle riding gear. Modular, full-face helmets with flip-up chinbar, kevlar mesh jackets and riding pants with protective armour are a big improvement to the short sleeve shirts, breeks and open face helmets previously worn.

Duff says the police specification jacket and pants cost about $700 dollars total – that’s a great value for a Canadian-made, custom tailored gear and comparable pricing to off-the-rack civilian motorcycle riding apparel that’s typically manufactured in third world countries.  The new EPS riding outfits are made by Crime Scene Evidence Ltd., a Calgary company that specializes in designing and manufacturing uniforms in Canada.  Also putting EPS motor officers at the forefront of modern motorcycle safety was the decision to replace the traditional open face helmet (which does not protect the chin and face in a crash) with new Scorpion modular, full-face helmets.  This helmet has a lockable chin bar (which can be released and rotated up, allowing the officer to converse unimpeded by the helmet) and a built-in, retractable sun visor.  The helmet has a built-in communications system consisting of headphones and a microphone boom that plugs into the officer’s patrol radio.

There are currently some forty male and female motor officers active in the EPS Traffic Section, all of whom have been equipped with the new riding gear.  Duff says on any given day, the entire fleet of twelve BMW R1200 RTP police motorcycles is in service and patrolling city streets.

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