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Friday, November 6, 2015

The Motorcycle in the Lobby

Police station lobbies are interesting places: often they are occupied by people under stress due to a traffic ticket, an impounded car, or a jailed relative. When you add in worried parents, scared victims, insurance adjusters, families with custody disputes, and lawyers, then you have more anxiety than most reality TV shows. Many departments try to soften their station lobbies with old photos, or equipment that tell the history of the department and show a human side to police work.

The motorcycle, along with its story, tower over the lobby.
The Alexandria police station has all of that, plus a motorcycle in their lobby. Or perhaps over their lobby would be a better description. The story board next to it provides the background with its large font heading of “Blast From The Past: The Story Behind The Wheels”.

The cycle is a cream-white, mid 1970’s Honda 450 in absolutely perfect condition. It has the classic 1970’s design, and is complete with red lights, a mechanical siren, and the ability to bring a smile to people’s faces.

In its hey-day, the motorcycle was mainly used for parades
and funeral escorts.
In the mid 1970’s, Alexandria residents Jerry and Margaret VanKampen brought the motorcycle back from a Honda trade show in Japan. The VanKampen’s owned the local Honda dealership and leased the motorcycle to the department. It was mostly used for parades and funeral escorts, and it became a fixture of the community—so much so that the city eventually bought the motorcycle and designed a special spot when they built a new station in 2011.

Alexandria has done a nice job of putting their history on display in their station lobby. There are photos of the former police chiefs, as well as an assortment of old photos and equipment. And they have that beautiful cream-white motorcycle that towers over the lobby and makes people smile.

Up Next: I can’t believe it happened. It happened fast. I wish I could do it over.

In the meantime, stay safe and be careful.

Rob

1 comment:

H. Dan Ness said...

Thank you for the article. We are very proud of our new (2011) station and some of the history of the department. Likewise our Fire Station has a "museum" of an old truck (the first motorized truck), turnout gear, uniforms and many pictures. Please visit that the next time you are in Alexandria. I would be happy to give you a personal tour.