By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia Police Department received a gift Wednesday that will make its debut during the Papal weekend.
It’ll protect officers, while making Philadelphia look good.
Eight fully-outfitted 2015 Harley Davidson police road motorcycles will replace older two-wheelers in the Philadelphia Police Department’s Highway Patrol unit fleet.
“These eight motorcycles will make us look very professional as we are escorting the Pope and other dignitaries that come to town,” says Captain Jack Fleming, who leads the unit. “It’s really going to make Philadelphia shine.”
Similar escorts will take place during the Democratic National Convention. The new wheels have a state of the art braking system that will save lives during sudden stops. Officers using older bikes could be thrown off during such a stop. The bikes were paid for by the Philadelphia Police Foundation that raised $150,000 last May. Donations came in from local unions, corporations, non-profits and individuals.
“We raised $2,000. We figured it’s not enough to buy a whole bike, but enough to buy a mirror,” says Kathy Trommer. She and her family contributed to the fund to honor their late father, Robert Wolfinger, a former Chief Inspector who escorted Pope John Paul II in 1979.
“I was so excited, memories of my dad just flowed back,” says Trommer, “I have a wonderful picture of him kissing the Pope’s ring. The whole family attended the mass. It was just one of the most wonderful days in our lives.”
She says today’s gift brings her father’s legacy full circle.
“He’ll be here with this Pope now,” she says.
The Philadelphia Police Foundation works to raise money for police training and equipment that falls outside of the Philadelphia Police Department’s budget. The group plans to continue to raise funds to replace more bikes for the department. To donate, go to phillypolicefoundation.org.