Saturday, July 26, 2014

New high-tech motorcycle helmets keep deputies safer

Police motorcycle helmet
OLATHE, Kan. —A new look for the deputies in the Johnson County Sheriff's Department's motorcycle unit may have members of the public doing a double take.

Master Deputy Greg Smith showed off the new full-face helmet that he and other deputies are wearing. It's a futuristic look, one that the county adopted with safety in mind.

It helps protect the riders from road debris and wind, but also improves communication.

"If I'm running down somebody -- trying to catch up with somebody -- I can get on with dispatch and talk to them at 100 mph," Smith said. "Say I'm trying to catch up with this vehicle, or this vehicle did this, (dispatchers) can hear me and I don't have to take my hands off the bike in order to do that. That's a huge safety issue."

The department said motorists might see the full-face helmet as more intimidating, but that's not the purpose of it. They said the face shield flips up that when a deputy approaches a driver, the driver can see the face and not talk into a mask.

Smith said he appreciates the new safety features and the department is getting a lot of positive response.

Not all deputies will have the new helmets right away. They're being phased in as older equipment gets replaced.

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