Motorcycle officers face dangerous encounters while on the job

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) — Motorcycle officers have a dangerous job, one that cost a Memphis Police Department patrolman his life this weekend.     

Speeders, tailgaters, and drivers who deliberately disregard those using motorcycles for work, can be threatening to motor unit officers. The motor unit is made up of officers who work in the traffic division that you see see on motorcycles for funeral escorts, presidential escorts, parades, etc.

Marcus Eddins is the owner of Community Motorized Escort Service. He’s been in business for almost four decades and says it is a very dangerous job for motor unit officers — from speeders, to those impatiently waiting when he’s escorting a funeral procession.

“Only thing, you’re going to gain from trying to beat us, is about 5 to 10 seconds,” Eddins said.

Eddins says it has led to many close calls for him.

“I’ve been in a procession where somebody came through the procession and hit the hearse and the hearse swung around and hit me,” Eddins said.

He was disheartened to hear the news MPD Officer Scotty Triplett lost his life Saturday during a department approved escort.

“We’re just sorry to hear about the officer in the past, it’s just dangerous out here,” Eddins said.

A driver even tapping these 1,200 pound machines in motion can be devastating.

“If anybody taps, like bumps us, we lose our equilibrium,” Eddins said.

You can understand why Eddins takes extra precautions, and it all begins with prayer.

“When we leave here, all of us getting a huddle, and we say a prayer before we leave,” Eddins said.

 But seeing someone in his side mirrors, following too closely is when fear sets in.

“Someone could come out in front of me and I have to stop suddenly, if they hit me they are going to send me 25 or 50 feet,” Eddins said.

This is why his bikes are decked out with sirens and everything possible to remain visible to other drivers.

“For you to notice us, and then we try to be safe for the riders that are out there we try to be safe for the general public,” Eddins said.

Eddins has invested a lot, with the sirens and lights, but he says between speeders and distracted drivers. It can quickly cause this task to become dangerous even deadly.

 In the meantime, he is still suiting up and hitting the road to fulfill his two-wheeled work.

Eddins says there is undeniable danger for everyone who straps on a helmet, revs the engine, and taking to the road on a motorcycle. But he adds, there’s also an undeniable love for riding.     

The Memphis Police Association Charitable Foundation is raising money for Officer Triplett’s family.

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