The Motor Bandit Patrol
The City of Philadelphia purchased its first motorcycle in 1914. These motorcycles were manned by officers who volunteered for the assignment in each numbered district at the time. In the 1920's, The Motor Bandit "Unit" grew rapidly to nearly 400 officers and were equipped with Thompson Sub-Machine guns patrolling on Harley Davidson and Indian Motorcycles. The Motor Bandits were notorious for apprehending bootleggers, top organized figures and violent felons. The FBI called them a "One of a kind unit and truly the best uniform officers in the country".
In 1952, The Motor Bandits were disbanded.
Formed in 1950, The Highway Patrol was fashioned after its sister unit "The Motor Bandits". With nearly 200 officers, The Highway Patrol was created to enforce motor vehicle laws in center city, escort dignitaries and patrol in high crime areas .
By 1959, the unit comprised of 157 motorcycles and 12 patrol vehicles. The unit became well known for its role in the arrest of major crime figures and violent felons.
The Columbia Avenue riots of 1964 solidified the reputation of the Highway Patrol as being an elite, fast moving force capable of restoring order in any situation. Throughout the 1970's to the present, Highway Patrol continues to make felony arrest and are known as The "Boot Cops".
The Highway Patrol is home of the most highly decorated and dedicated officers of the Philadelphia Police Department.
The Philadelphia Highway Patrol Drill Team was created by Police Commissioner Thomas Gibbons in 1953. It was formed in response to the need of seven families of Philadelphia Firefighters , killed in the line of duty while battling a multi alarm fire in 1953. All proceeds raised would benefit not only those families, but the families of all Police and Firefighters killed in the line of duty. The Drill Team made its first appearance in 1954, at Municipal Stadium. The Drill Team performed high speed maneuvers and various stunts for thousand of spectators. Throughout the years, The Drill Team has been involved in some of the most prestigious events in history. The Highway Patrol Drill Teams continues to ride for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
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