Officers from Oconee County, Carrolton, Cobb County, Canton, Holly Springs and Georgia Tech Police are among the 11 total taking on the two-week course under way at First Baptist Church of Woodstock, said Lt. Gene Peluso, deputy director of training and de facto head of the motorcycle unit at the Sheriff’s Office.
The public servants will learn skills such as formation riding, maneuvering, escorting and even how to handle a gun battle on a bike.
All of the officers enrolled are patrol officers who now take on their beats in regular police cars, but Peluso said with the training received in the course, the officers can transition to motorcycles.
“They’ll hope to complete the course so they can become full-time motorcycle officers,” he said.
Peluso said it makes sense for the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office to play host to the class because the motorcycle unit is one of the prides of the department.
Cherokee motorcycle officers have competed in the Georgia Police and Fire Games in Dalton, Peluso said.
“Some of the bragging rights on how good some of my guys are — we’re the reigning champs over the last four years,” in the motorcycle portion of the competition, Peluso said.
In June, the Sheriff’s Office brought home gold in both the intermediate and expert divisions of that competition.
Given this reputation, Peluso said the idea for the Sheriff’s Office to present the course, which also has instructors from Cobb County and Johns Creek, has been around for some time, but they only recently decided to go through with it.
“Probably what was the turning point was Chief (Robert) Merchant from the Canton Police Department asked me if I’d be willing to put on a course,” Peluso said.
But the class isn’t only beneficial to the officers who want motorcycle training.
“It also does a lot for us,” Peluso said. “It finetunes our instructing capabilities. One of the things we do is we like to instruct.”
Peluso said instructing is important when it comes to motorcycle officers, whose jobs can often be dangerous without the added protection of being inside a car.
That danger, he says, adds to making motorcycle officers a close-knit group.
“Out of all the different types of specific units that law enforcement has I believe the motor guys are probably the tightest group of guys,” Peluso said. “There’s a camaraderie there.”