Citing concerns about liability and officer safety, the City Council decided Tuesday not to accept a state grant to start a police motorcycle traffic enforcement program.
The Police Department had been offered a $79,600 grant from the state Office of Traffic Safety to pay for four motorcycles and related equipment.
Police Chief Elvin G. Miali had told the council that, even though traffic injuries and deaths are increasing, "we're not adequately addressing traffic because of the lack of resources."
But Councilman John J. Collins argued that using police motorcycles "creates a high risk for officer safety . . . and also creates a higher financial risk to the city."
Added Councilman Guy Carrozzo: "The need does not justify the liability level that we would put the city under."
Miali said the use of motorcycles can improve traffic law enforcement, which can decrease traffic injuries. Motorcycle officers' high visibility helps enforce traffic laws, and officers can maneuver easily in heavy traffic, he said.
Concerns about liability exposure to the city, Miali said, could be lessened through officer training and supervision.
Though the council voted 3 to 2 not to accept the grant, members unanimously endorsed having a study done to analyze the risks and costs of a motorcycle program.
Miali expressed hope that a motorcycle program will be reconsidered after the study is completed.