By Donald Wittkowski
Did the motorcycle cops from “CHiPs” leave their bikes in Sea Isle City after the old TV police show went off the air?
Well, not exactly, but tucked inside a storage area in the Townsends Inlet fire station are two relics of the Sea Isle Police Department’s former motorcycle unit.
The 2004 Road King Police Edition Harley-Davidsons have been collecting dust and need a jump-start to get them running again. One of them has 13,000 miles on the odometer, while the other has 8,500 miles.
Police Chief Tom McQuillen believes the motorcycles haven’t been used for several years. They won’t be making a comeback, either.
The police department is trading in the cycles as it continues to upgrade its fleet of vehicles with new SUVs that have four-wheel-drive and high clearance, allowing them to be driven on the beaches, through flooded areas and during snowstorms.
The city will receive a total of $5,000 for the two Harley-Davidsons as a trade-in with Municipal Equipment Enterprises, a company that outfits Sea Isle’s police vehicles with radios, emergency lights and other special equipment, McQuillen said.
By trading them in, Sea Isle will get a lot more money for the cycles compared to putting them up for auction on the surplus government equipment website Govdeals.com, McQuillen said.
He estimated the bikes would be sold for only a few hundred dollars if they were auctioned off online. Sea Isle’s taxpayers will benefit from the trade-in deal because the extra money will help pay for the cost of outfitting the new police vehicles, he noted.
In their heyday, the Harley-Davidsons were part of the department’s “quasi” motorcycle patrol unit under former Police Chief William Kennedy, McQuillen recalled.
“Chief Kennedy was a motorcycle enthusiast,” McQuillen said.
Over the years, all but one of the officers who rode the motorcycles either retired or were promoted to other positions in the department. The cycles, which apparently haven’t been used since Hurricane Sandy pummeled Sea Isle in October 2012, became less important when the department began upgrading its fleet of vehicles, McQuillen explained.
“They weren’t being used as much as in the past when we reconfigured our fleet structure,” he said.
As to their ultimate fate, McQuillen believes that their soon-to-be new owner, Municipal Equipment Enterprises, plans to put them on display at police expos and shows.
Sporting a white paint scheme, the cycles are equipped with big saddlebags, high windshields inscribed with the word “Police” on them and Sea Isle City Police Department decals on the gas tanks.