Interview with a California Motor Cop

We had the great privilege of talking to the author of, who shared his insights on working as a motor cop and also some advice for prospective police officers.

Can you tell us what activities you spend most of time on when on duty?

I'm a motor officer, so my day is primarily made up of monitoring for vehicle code violations and responding to investigate traffic collisions. Traffic enforcement is my main function, but when the beat cops are busy and calls start stacking up, I'll answer up for calls for service or cover my beat partners on their details.

What aspects of your job do you like the most and the least?

What I like best about my job is the fact that I get paid to ride a motorcycle. I've been riding since '94 and I still shake my head sometimes when I get to work and realize I get paid to ride. Additionally, traffic violations have always irked me, so to get to write tickets when I see a violation is simply icing on the cake.

What I like least about my job would have to be riding in the summer. 100 degree heat and kevlar do not make for a comfortable ride.

What was the most difficult part about becoming a police officer?

I'd have to say the most difficult part about becoming a police officer is the seemingly interminable wait to get through the initial hiring process. I got hired at my department after a five month process. That's a long time to wait for something that has been a lifelong dream. Once I get hired, though, the hardest thing I've done in my career is the two weeks I spent in motor school. It was more stressful and demanding than the Academy and FTO combined.

What most surprised you about law enforcement that you did not expect before you joined the force?

I don't think much about this job surprised me. I grew up in public service (Dad is retired Fire) and I was a dispatcher before becoming a cop. I knew all about the stress, fun, angst, and camaraderie from growing up and my dispatch gig. That's not to say I had all my ducks in a row and am the perfect cop…far from it. I just went into the job knowing every day is doing to be different and every day could be my last.

What advice would you give someone who is interested in becoming a police officer?

Do as many ride-a-longs as possible and get your ass in shape. The more experience you have riding with a cop, the more likely you'll have your act together when the time comes for you to perform. Listen to them on the radio. Learn the codes, phonetic alphabet, and elements of the major crimes….oh, and run. A lot.