TFC Carlo Guera and TFC Brian Becker superimposed on csp patch

The Connecticut State Police Motor Unit

The Connecticut State Police Motorcycle Unit, or "motors" as they are universally known, was reactivated in the 1980's after being extinct since around the late 1960's. This experience was repeated in many departments throughout the country, both state and local. Motor Units were disbanded for many reasons, and considered unsafe by some. Over the years since the resurgence motor popularity in police work, the training provided to police motor units has been greatly refined, and the units have seen a dramatic comeback. New York State Police revived their program in 1997, New Jersey and Indiana SP in 2003, Illinois SP in 2006. Around 1981 then CSP Colonel Les Forst decided to recreate the unit on a trial basis. He sent four troopers to New Hampshire to undergo training by the New Hampshire State Police. Three of the four completed the program. Later that same year the original three plus one more were sent to California for additional training at the CHP Academy. Again, three of the four completed the course. If you've ever seen the difficulty of police motorcycle training, you can appreciate the task these troopers accomplished, completing first basic motor training, and then instructor training. After completion of their training, they returned to Connecticut, and started patrol on the motors. In 1983 two of the original troopers, Joe Dynderski and Bob Kenney, seen in the first full row of photos below, were trained as instructors and began training the first additional CSP troopers. The motor of choice at that time (no doubt influenced by the NHSP and CHP) was the Kawasaki Police KZ1000P. The first few bikes were put in the field, and their success was immediate. During the 90's the Kawasaki was replaced by the Harley Davidson Police Road King, still the model of choice today.

Courtesy of TFC Joe Dynderski, Retired


The current State Police Motorcycle Unit consists of 12 to 17 Troopers each of whom is assigned a motorcycle. They are assigned throughout the State for maximum coverage with the motorcycles. Each unit member has successfully completed a 160-hour basic Police Motorcycle Operator's Course. The course is designed to develop the Trooper's riding abilities and skill level to deal with the demands of patrol riding. The motorcycle unit serves many functions such as dignitary/high profile escorts, motor vehicle enforcement and general patrol activities. They are used in almost all weather and lighting conditions. The motors have long been able to gain easier access when responding to certain areas due to their smaller profile. Think of a grid-blocked highway where full sized cruisers cannot make progress. The CSP Motor Unit also provides basic police motorcycle training for municipal police agencies throughout Connecticut and has trained 70 state and local officers since 2002. In 2007 the unit conducted three classes graduating 16 state and local police officers. Five new troopers were added to the unit after graduating from their basic operator course, the first in five years to be added. The Motor Unit was also involved with two out-of-state training classes involving the training of motorcycle instructors.
Courtesy of TFC Brian Becker

Interested in what the training is like? Northwestern University and Harley Davidson offer a course of police motorcycle training similar to but not nearly as intensive or thorough as the CSP course. Take a look at the program page and take note where it says "participating students are welcome to bring their own motorcycle but can expect to return with $1,500-$2,000 in cosmetic damages at the end of the two week operator course". There is more in-depth description of that training HERE. After looking at that, use the link below to view the CSP Training Course, which is three weeks in duration and far more advanced.

The current CSP Training Staff have been certified as instructors by the Maryland State Police, and two have been certified as Master Instructors. They conduct regular training classes, instructing CSP motormen as well as officers from state and local agencies throughout the region. In addition the CSP Instructors conduct training in several other states.



TPR Joe Dynderski Joe Dynderski and Bob Kenney First motormen and trainers CSP Kawasaki Motormen
TFC Carlo Guerra

In the early days, motorcycles were a very popular tool for police. An article from the Hartford Courant dated Dec. 25, 1920 included this testimonial: "... a force of about seventy-five men equipped with motorcycles could do the work well. Motorcycles, it was said, would get the men about their "beats" much more efficiently and expeditiously than horses under existing conditions." All troopers rode motorcycles, and they rode them all year long! These men had very little or no safety equipment, and even less protection against the elements. It has long been rumored that they would line their blouses with newspaper in an effort to keep from freezing. Motor police of this era did not wear helmets or eye protection. They had thin gloves and uniforms did little to provide insulation. The first motorcycles themselves were little more than bicycles with small motors. For many years during the 30's and 40's the Indian Chief motorcycle was the choice of the CSP and most police agencies across the U.S. It was a substantial machine which offered state of the art options and power and it was a popular motorcycle. The CSP deployed a four-cylinder model, with clutch and hand shift on the right side - not an easy bike to ride. At this time windshields began to appear on the motorcycles, offering a vast improvement in safety and protection from the weather. Head and eye protection was still in the future.

Sometime around the late 50's the CSP returned to Harley Davidson as the motorcycle of choice, as did most other agencies. The Duo-Glide and later the Electra-Glide were engineered primarily for law enforcement, and they were a very substantial machine. The example in the photos above was equipped with an integral siren, pursuit lights, windshield and saddlebags. It had a left side "tank shift" and foot operated clutch, so coming to a stop meant that the rider needed to find neutral before he could put that left foot down, making stops and takeoffs, especially to the left, an interesting task.

Recent photos this page courtesy of TFC Carlo Guerra, TFC Brian Becker and others. Vintage photos source mostly unknown.

Web page by Tom Seeley,
Lieutenant, CSP Retired


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