Mills Park was filled with law enforcement agents this weekend as the Carson City Sheriff’s Office hosted its 13th annual Extreme Motor Officer Training Challenge.
The three day event is a training exercise for law enforcement officers from around the country to come to learn new skills as well as strengthening the ones they already have. The main event was the timed motor challenge, where officers have to go through a specific and difficult cone pattern in the fastest time possible, which helps them try to prepare for obstacles and situations they may see out on patrol.
“This is just going to help them be safer,” said Carson Sgt. Scott McDaniel. “They can’t always account for how people will drive, motorcycles are small and so people can’t always judge their speed and distance, but this course helps so the officer can hopefully learn to go around (that obstacle) or break in time to avoid that.”
This motorcycle training hit home. Michael Katherman, a San Jose motor officer, was killed in the line of duty last week after a vehicle made a left turn into his motorcycle. Despite the tragedy, though, two San Jose officers still attended the challenge.
“We are so happy having San Jose attend, especially after their loss,” McDaniel said.
A booth was set at the event to raise money for the fallen officer’s family.
“Mike, this ride is for you,” Sheriff Ken Furlong said at the opening ceremonies.
In total, 31 officers rode in the event Friday and Saturday, with agencies from Reno, Douglas, the Sacramento area and many more.
“They are out there helping each other out and that’s how you improve that skill because you learn from officers who have ridden for years,” McDaniel said.
For first year Nevada Highway Patrol motor officer Pete Wheeler, getting to come and learn from great officers like Carson City’s Wayne Wheeler, an old instructor of his, was a great opportunity for him.
“It is a great experience and it is awesome,” Pete said. “The first test of skills and limits is great because it is in a safe environment and you learn more about how to control the bike because they put you in real life situations.”
This year’s theme was Black Cat 13, with a play on the No. 13 superstition. To have fun with it, the course was set up in a variety of superstitions. With the timed course, the different sections were designed to look like bad luck symbols including a broken mirror, a double horseshoe and a black cat litter box.
The crowds enjoyed watching the officers weave and speed through obstacles, especially 4-year-old Riley William, who came because he wants to grow up to be a police officer.
“My grandson loves police officers, so I knew he would really enjoy it,” said William’s grandmother Vicki Leigh.
“I have been a few times and I enjoy it — they are just amazing the way they ride those motorcycles.”
This year, the competition was held in Mills Park instead of its normal spot on Carson Street. With the construction going on, the unit was forced to relocate, however, the park may have been a better option as it provided more space, shade and activity for spectators. Also being in Mills Park allowed the event to be held in conjunction with Rockabilly Riot, a classic car show that was also this weekend.
In the end, Carson City had a good day in the competition, with Deputy Joey Trotter posting the fast time in the timed trials.