Victoria-area dealers mourn loss of police motorbike contract

VicPD selects Arizona company to supply new motorcycles

Motorcycle dealers in the Capital Region are disappointed with the Victoria Police Department’s recent decision to purchase 10 new bikes from a U.S. company.

Arizona Victory Motorcycles won out over four local dealers to replace the department’s aging fleet of bikes for $278,340, plus tax. The machines are expected to arrive by the first week in June.

The deal represents an enormous loss for the local economy, said Kerry Wilk, owner of Esquimalt-based Action Motorcycles.

It is the first time in about 35 years that VicPD is stocking its motorcycle fleet with bikes from outside Greater Victoria, said Wilk, who supplied VicPD with 10 2003 Honda ST1300s in 2004 and bid this time around.

“I think it’s sad to see that kind of money leave the area,” he said. “And it wasn’t something that was that specialized where any one of us couldn’t have done (the work).”

The department’s choice is disappointing, agreed Andy White, general manager of SG Power, another of the local bidders.

“We’re a long-time established business. For us it’s personal,” he said. “Come through the shop … Show me what we do that’s not right for your fit. It’s just so frustrating.”

Victoria police brass stand by their decision.

“We, by law and police board policy, have to respect and follow a competitive process open to anyone who wanted to provide a proposal,” Insp. Andy Lacon, officer in charge of motorcycle operations, wrote in a statement. “That is why we could not limit bids to only Victoria-based companies.

“In short, the Victory motorcycles best meet the operational and safety requirements as outlined in our (request for proposals) process, and they represent the best value for the Victoria Police Department.”

The motorcycles in each bid were rated on performance, safety features, load and storage capacity, emergency equipment, price and warranty, and service, among others.

The contract includes emergency equipment, a multi-year complete warranty for bikes and equipment, training, paint and decals.

Warranty work and maintenance will be done by a local company which has not yet been selected. Victoria police wanted the ability to access the vehicles when they are in the shop, Lacon said.

The department has been saving money for the purchase since 2004, he added.

emccracken@vicnews.com