Available: Cumberland’s old police motorcycle

Available: Cumberland’s old police motorcycle

CUMBERLAND – In 1964, the Cumberland Police Department landed a new Harley-Davidson Servi-Car three-wheeled motorcycle, a vehicle that would quickly become the pride of the department.

Four years later, Ken Milligan joined the department, becoming one of three riders for the bike during the 1970s.

After getting less and less use, said Ken’s son, Alan Milligan, the bike was put up for sale nearly 20 years later, sold to a Pawtucket resident who drove it around as his regular mode of transportation.

In 1997, when the younger Milligan became an officer, he began seeing the motorcycle being driven around by its owner, often on Mineral Spring Avenue. He mentioned it to then-Chief Tony Silva, who said if Milligan could find the motorcycle, he would be interested in buying it back for the department and using it for parades and as a public relations tool.

Milligan said he was unable to find it, but in 2015, the department got an out-of-the-blue call from John Moulton, of California, who had apparently purchased the motorcycle at an auction in Reno (apparently at the exact same time Milligan and Chief John Desmarais were at a police conference in Reno) and found the original bill of sale to the private owner, signed by Capt. Paul Mooney, in its trunk. The only item Moulton was missing was the emergency light, and he was looking for pictures of the vehicle so he could get the light to look as authentic as possible.

Milligan remembers turning around at his desk when the call came in five years ago and staring at the picture of his father, Officer Milligan, riding the bike.

“I couldn’t believe it,” he said.

Alan Milligan, who retired from the department a year ago and is now a fraud investigator for Blue Cross, told Moulton that if he was ever ready to sell the bike, he wanted the first call. Milligan said he got a text from Patricia Tweedie, secretary to the chief, in August telling him that Moulton was trying to get in touch with him about the Harley being for sale.

Milligan said he asked Moulton why he was looking to sell the bike after he had looked for so long for the rare police version of a motorcycle that was so strong it was used to tow other vehicles. Moulton responded that he was moving in another direction with a different collection of hot rods, but really wanted the bike to go back to the town of Cumberland.

Realizing that this might be a long shot, particularly as the collection value of the bike now has it for sale at a “premium price” of $25,000 and the fact that the Police Department can’t just make such purchases, Milligan said he went straight to Mayor Jeff Mutter with his idea to buy the vehicle and bring it back as a featured item in the department where he believes it belongs, making it a star attraction in local parades.

“It’s incredible,” Milligan said of the police special, which only has about 3,000 more miles on it than it had when it was sold around 1980, or 31,790, and still has its original paint.

“It’s an extremely rare motorcycle, and to be in its original condition that it was in in 1964 is just unbelievable,” he said. “I’m sentimentally attached to it through my dad. It’s a piece of history that I let go but I knew it was in great hands.”

There were plenty such motorcycles with gas station markings on them or dents from being used as tow vehicles, he said, but for one to be in such good condition with the original painted “Cumberland Police” on the back was unheard of.

The bike, according to the tag on it, was sold by the Rogeski Motorcycle Co. of Woonsocket.

Milligan acknowledged that it might take some private investment to make a sale of the bike back to Cumberland happen, but Moulton has indicated that he’ll give it some time. Moulton did say he has had some other interest, said Milligan, including from a potential buyer who would like to strip off the old paint.

Mayor Mutter said this week that he loves the idea of buying the bike and said he enjoyed checking out the “cool pictures” from Milligan, but said he doesn’t know where the funding to buy the motorcycle would come from right now. Procedurally, he said, such an acquisition might first need to get an assessment of its value and go to the Town Council for approval.

Officer Ken Milligan riding the Cumberland Police Department’s old three-wheeled Harley nearly 50 years ago. His son, Alan, wants to see the town of Cumberland bring the vehicle back.
The logo on the bike shows that it came from Rogeski in Woonsocket.
The original Cumberland Police lettering is still on the motorcycle.

Comments

Jeff go for it $ 25k bet he will take $20k .Got to have that kicking around somewhere ? Maybe last years snow budget . Dont we have 2 Harley's already that were slightly used ? Sell them.

Seems like a lot of money for the Town to spend. It's old and will generate repair costs. Maybe the Town could rent the bike for special events? Seems like a more manageable way to have the bike take part in the once a year parade. Don't forget this is the Town where a removal of $5,000 from the police budget caused an uproar from some.

What a fantastic story, we need to purchase and keep that Harley with us.

I love history. But why should the town buy this? Would it be used by the police today?

Using $25,000 of town funds to buy a 1964 white elephant is ludicrous. Go start a GoFundMe account and let the people who want to buy it contribute to its purchase.
I do hope to see this vehicle in the 4th of July parade one day, but only if it proliferates its massive output of noxious gasses and smog-forming hydrocarbons in front of the latest 'Save The Planet' float.

So, you DON'T want to save the planet? You got another place to live? Do share.

I grew up in the Valley Falls section of Cumberland and saw this bike quite a bit. The first officer I remember riding it was Officer Brown (Brownie). I also remember seeing Officer Milligan riding it as well. I believe it was used to used for traffic control at the corner of Broad & Church street. That's where I remember seeing most.