Arizona’s Tempe Police Department has begun equipping its motorcycle officers with an rifle mounting system to improve their firepower. The new mounts allow AR-15 rifles to be stored on police bikes for use in dangerous situations. Tempe PD have been using the muzzle-down mount for the last 6 months with 8 bikes being equipped with the rear-mounted rifle rack.
The idea to equip motorcycle cops with rifles came from Tempe’s police chief, Sylvia Moir, who took up the post in 2016. Motorcycles are more manoeuvrable than squad cars and are able to weave around vehicles, obstacles, drive on sidewalks and generally traverse spaces officers in cars can not.
Previously, motorcycle-mounted officers arriving at the scene of a volatile situation would have been limited to their pistols but the new storage system gives officers greater firepower if needed. Tempe police department confirmed that while officers had so far deployed their rifles on a number of occasions, since the mounts were added, none have had to open fire. The rifles are locked securely into the mount with the trigger and most of the lower receiver covered. Tempe declined to give details on the locking method or how the mount attached to the bike but assured that it was fixed securely and the weapon was not easily accessible by anyone other than the officers using them.
Tempe police Commander Michael Pooley told the Phoenix New Times that the department “we’re always concerned about public perceptions. We don’t want people to think we’re carrying these around for no reason.” But he claims that so far, he said they have “gotten a lot of positive feedback” from the public about the rifle mounts.
Police Chief Moir brought the idea with her from her previous department in El Cerrito, California, where motorcycle officers began using similar mounts back in 2013. LAPD have also used a similar system for some years. Other agencies prefer to use more discrete ‘saddle bag’ or side bucket-based systems where a smaller carbine or rifle with a folding stock can be placed in a locked mount and saddle bag box. This system is used by police departments in California, Texas, and Florida.
Tempe PD’s Sgt. Ronald Elcock was keen to point out that the system just gives motorcycle cops the same access to a rifle as officers responding in squad cars. Elcock said that “there are situations and suspects out there that have this type of firepower that we get called out to, for us to go out to those situations with a handgun will not be an appropriate amount of firepower, if you will, to address that situation.”
‘Tempe Cops Are Now Packing AR-15s on Their Motorcycles’, Phoenix New Times, retrieved 29/03/18 from source
‘Some Tempe motorcycle officers now carry AR-15 rifles’ AZ Central, retrieved 29/03/18 from source