The Fairfax County Police Motor Squad consists of 32 full-time officers divided into two squads. There are five supplemental officers who are assigned to ride twice a month and maintain the same qualification standards as the full-time officers. There are many duties that these officers are tasked with on a daily basis. They are the resident experts in traffic flow and incident control to facilitate traffic safety and the uninterrupted flow of commerce.
The mission statement of these officers is to ensure the safety of all motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists. This is accomplished through education, awareness and aggressive enforcement of the traffic laws of the Commonwealth.
Police Motorcycle Safety Competition/Training, is one method the squad utilizes to maintain riding proficiency. These sessions attempt to replicate actual road conditions, in a controlled environment. They train and ride in all kinds of weather, and will only park their motorcycles if temperatures dip well below freezing. Riding a motorcycle in the metropolitan area is dangerous, so the skill and the training of the officer is of paramount importance. The Motor Squad trains monthly and must pass an annual qualification in order to continue to ride. The squad is nationally recognized as one of the best in the country and it is from these training sessions as well as continuous on the job training that keeps them safe. The squad has participated in training/competition events all across the country and in Canada. It was a member of the Fairfax County Police Motor Squad who won first place in the Harley Davidson 110th Anniversary Rodeo.
Another mission of the squad is to assist outside agencies. Two of these agencies are the United States Secret Service and The Department of State. Motor officers are frequently assigned to assist in conducting Presidential, VIP and dignitary escorts that travel in and through Fairfax County. They work with these agencies to help plan and implement a protective escort for the President, Vice President, First Lady and Heads of State.
The Motor Squad participates in many special assignments throughout the year. These include, The Ride of the Patriots, that originates in Fairfax City and travels into Washington DC. The squad will post officers at the front and back of the procession to ensure that all the riders arrive safely. The squad also assists in escorting Honor Flights, for military veterans as they arrive at area airports, and then are taken to Arlington, Virginia and Washington DC.
Rolling Thunder is another escort that these officers are assigned to. Working with the Washington DC, Metropolitan Police Department; our motor officers begin the escort in Fairfax County and proceed to the Pentagon parking lot where they are met by thousands of mortorcyclists from around the country. The squad also participates in the Law Ride, the Wounded Warrior Project and annual police week events such as escorting family members of law enforcement officers killed in the line-of -duty.
Unfortunately, there are instances where the squad is called upon to assist in escorting a fallen officer. The squad has travelled to pay their respects to fallen officers in Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, Norfolk and Richmond.
Santa’s Ride is in its 17th year in Fairfax County. The officers assigned to this seasonal mission are tasked with collecting toys for sick children who are currently in area hospitals, like INOVA Fairfax and Children’s Hospital in Georgetown. The officers accept donations of unopened toys from all of the district police stations, schools and private partnerships. Santa and his helpers ride throughout the County visiting elementary schools, spreading holiday cheer. So, if you see Santa on a motorcycle, give him a wave and honk your horn….
Motor officers are frequently asked by citizens or district station commanders, to conduct focused traffic enforcement on area roads that have been designated as a high volume or high violation area. The goal is to gain voluntary compliance with the law. These enforcement efforts are preceded by research into the area to ensure officer safety and that of citizens. Officers work with VDOT to determine if road improvement is necessary, or if additional signs are needed.
Removing road debris during inclement weather is yet another task for a motor officer. If there is a delayed response from VDOT to these events, motor officers assigned to the traffic division are deployed with the equipment to properly handle most of these events; allowing snow plows and brine trucks to do their job.
Motor officers assist with road closures for vehicular and pedestrian safety. Heavy rains and downed trees or power lines are common calls. Officers are aware of the dangers and know how to respond to these events with the utmost safety in mind and with a detour plan. Follow the signs provided and the direction of the officers and you will be on your way again.
Occasionally traffic control is needed for long term road closures. The goal is to minimize the impact on motorists, residents and commerce. If at all possible, a collaborative plan between the Fire Department, and or utility services is developed. Motor officers are trained to handle these types of incidents and understand that getting the road open as soon as possible is of the utmost importance.
You might see the Traffic Incident Management Vehicle at the scene of a road closure or power failure. It is equipped with portable generators that can be deployed to power traffic signals that have lost direct power, until the utility company can restore power to the signal.
One of the more potentially dangerous tasks for the Motor Squad is conducting funeral escorts. A funeral director will submit a request to the Motor Squad, based on prerequisites already known to the director. When you see these processions coming through, please pay attention to the officers’ directions. The closure will not last long, and normal traffic flow will resume shortly.
Motor Officers assist with summer youth camps provided by the Department's "Road Dawg Program" and other community outreach events throughout the year. They also teach classes on traffic stops to students at the Citizen Police Academy, Future Women Leaders in Law Enforcement and the Law Enforcement courses offered through the Fairfax County Public Schools.
Motor officers participate in numerous parades in the area; The Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in Old Town, Alexandria, the Cherry Blossom Festival Parade and the Fourth of July Parade in Washington DC, the Apple Blossom Festival Parade in Winchester and the Vienna Halloween Parade are some examples.