Tempe, AZ Police Packing AR-15 Style Rifles on Motorcycles

More and more police agencies are issuing AR-15 style rifles to their officers, as police recognize the many advantages of the rifle for defense over the shotguns that used to be carried in cruisers. One of the latest groups to be issued the rifles are Tempe, Arizona motorcycle cops. That’s been a challenge because a method had to be found to keep the rifles both available and secure.

From phoenixnewtimes.com:

The latest accessory for Tempe police motorcycles is causing double-takes in this Phoenix suburb: a rear-mounted AR-15 rifle.

The department quietly has outfitted eight of its duty motorcycles, more than half, with the upright mounts for semiautomatic rifles.

Chief Sylvia Moir, the former chief of El Cerrito, California, brought the idea with her when she was hired by Tempe in September 2016, and it was embraced by officers, said Tempe police Commander Michael Pooley.

AR-15-equipped vehicles are common in many police and sheriff departments. The special motorcycle mount used by the Tempe motorcycle officers are said to make removal of the rifle difficult, unless the “tricks” are known.

It appears that a combination of movements is required to remove the rifle. it’s also possible that an electronic lock is used that may be dependent on an RFID device or similar system.

While it isn’t known who makes the mount used on the Tempe police two-wheelers, I suspect Alternative Vehicle Accessory Manufacturing in Prescott Arizona. Strangely, their site doesn’t have a photo of their mount, but their description seems compatible with the Tempe mount.

You’d hope that whatever mount Tempe chose, it adequately covers the trigger, unlike the version that Chino, California had chosen for their AR-equipped cycles.

The advantages of an AR-15 variant for a patrol rifle include 20-30 rounds, easily available magazines, light weight, accuracy, ease of use. Not to mention a significant power advantage over most pistols, and a familiarity gained from any military experience an officer may have.

All of those advantages also apply to everyday citizens who, after all, frequently face similar threats as police officers do.

Tempe PD thought there might be negative reactions to carrying AR-15 rifles on motorcycles. That did not happen.

From phoenixnewtimes.com:

(Commander Michael) Pooley said the agency was braced for a backlash when it deployed the guns: “We’re always concerned about public perceptions. We don’t want people to think we’re carrying these around for no reason.”

So far, he said, the agency has “gotten a lot of positive feedback” from people in the community.

Arizona is known for its strong support of Second Amendment rights. It’s likely most of the residents of Arizona recognize America’s rifle, and respect its capabilities and advantages for both police and civilians alike.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch 


  1. avatar P-Dog says:

    Hey, we’ve had those in Southern California for years!

    1. avatar Gun Free School Zones are a crime against humanity says:

      Ditto nor cal.

    2. avatar anonymoose says:

      I seem to remember a story about Cali motorcycle cops getting their fancy G36Cs yoinked off their bikes a couple years ago.

  2. avatar Ed Schrade says:

    I guess these motorcycles are officially weapons of war.

    1. avatar Rick the Bear says:

      Ha, ha. Only if they have high-capacity gas tanks, though. 8>)

    2. avatar Lost Down South says:

      How come THEIR rifles are semi-autos, and OUR semi-auto rifles are assault weapons?

  3. avatar Aaron M. Walker says:

    The Libertarian in me says bad idea when it comes to carve-outs with law enforcement. It just validates the horrible thoughts of aggressive militarized police commandos. The navy seal mentality shouldn’t be part of a local law enforcements. It just reinforces the images of a future dystopian NWO with national police commandos stomping out civilian civil liberties….

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      I agree that anyone otherwise not a prohibited person should be able to keep an AR-15 in their vehicle.

      But cops are not turned into commandos just because they have a rifle. A pistol is a poor performer in a gunfight and is carried only because it is easy to do so on a duty belt. Cops have been using long guns long before the Navy Seals or any other modern ‘commando’ force existed.

    2. avatar MeRp says:

      I agree that police carveouts are a really dumb idea. But, who said anything about carveouts? I’m pretty sure any Arizonan can carry a long arm on their motorcycle. Did someone say otherwise that I missed?

      1. avatar Jonathan-Houston says:

        Often its illegal to carry a loaded long gun in a vehicle. Some states gi even further and compel you to banish all firearms, unloaded and cased, to the trunk.

        1. avatar Ansel Hazen says:

          That’s where constitutional carry falls short. In my state I can have loaded guns in my vehicle just laying on the upholstery because I took the time to get the plastic (Concealed Carry) card.

        2. avatar Mark H says:

          This is ARIZONA. You can have a loaded long are in your vehicle. Next to you. In arms reach. Or anywhere else for that matter.

      2. avatar Rusty Chains says:

        The carve outs would be in California. I would welcome a federal law that blocked state and local governments from receiving federal funds if they equip their officers with weapons forbidden to non-law enforcement citizens. That is the only gun control that I would support.

  4. avatar Bloving says:

    Here’s what I said about it to them:
    Why do spree killers and terrorists often use the AR15? Because it is reliable, affordable, effective, easy to use and readily available. Why do civilians and police use the AR15? Because it is reliable, affordable, effective, easy to use and readily available. Why have bigots and the ignorant directed their prejudice at those who own and legally enjoy the benefits of the AR15? Because it is reliable, affordable, effective, easy to use and readily available.

    1. avatar Joel says:

      Well said.

      On a motorcycle, I would probably opt for a 9” barreled AR pistol with a brace thingy myself.

      1. avatar JTWinR says:

        I agree with you, however the brace would be exempt to LEO’s where the department can issue them PC SBR’s. I doubt they roll with ear buds on, so it would make sense to lower the concussion in most situations on patrol. In the rare event of a Dade County or Hollywood scenario, your 5.56 carrying cruiser is a must.

  5. avatar Spectre_USA says:

    I bet they are equipped with a giggle switch as well! Some folks have all the luck…

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      Almost certainly not. Anything other than semi-auto puts you in a different world of pain, liability-wise (and requires a lot more training). So you’ll see that with SWAT teams but not regular patrol rifles.

  6. avatar Ralph says:

    Cops are just too toxically male to be allowed to have death-dealing semiautomatic weapons of war.

  7. avatar Mark says:

    Meh, color me not enthused.

    Arizona may in some ways be a bastion of firearms freedom, but it’s also been a bastion of jackbooted, corrupt and oppressive government for many decades as well. The “Miranda” case happened in Phoenix, as did 20 years of Joe Arpaio (who didn’t just fark with Mexicans, he violated a lot of US Citizen’s rights), and just a few months ago, not even very far from Tempe – the murder of an unarmed man by a cop with an AR15 that had “you’re farked” engraved on the dust cover. On his duty weapon!

    Personally, I’d like all cops to be armed with nothing more powerful than paintballs until they learn to shoot less unarmed “civilians” and dogs & maybe take a five-minute class on the constitution

    1. avatar Victor says:

      This. People often forget that there’s more than one Amendment, and AZ’s not been so strong on several of the others.

    2. avatar neiowa says:

      Joe Arpaio for FBI AND ICE chief

  8. avatar Defens says:

    Seems kind of odd to mount it vertically at the rear of the bike. Why not have it mounted horizontally, pointing forward on a gimbal mount? Put a muzzle cover on it, that can be remotely blown off (or just shoot it off). Then the motor patrol can deploy it while engaging in a high-speed chase to shoot up runners of stop signs or other dangerous criminals?

  9. avatar J- says:

    I see that optic walking away unless it is secured with more than just the standard Aimpoint thumb screw mount.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      Maybe… but motor officers are usually close to their bikes and I wouldn’t want to be the one to sneak over and start messing with a police rifle when the guy might come around the corner at any second.

  10. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    I used to carry my P90 in the saddlebag of my Harley. It fit quite nicely.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      I’d like to see a firearm like the ‘Shockwave’ in a leather scabbard on the front fork of a chopper…

  11. avatar FB says:

    Already being done in California law enforcement.

  12. avatar blunt truth says:

    Washington state patrol have been doing that for years too, They use a 10″ SBR (If I remember correctly) in the saddlebag with a small cut out in front for the barrel hard to see on a Honda ST1300 The saddlebag is magnetically locked to the bike, officers have to remove and carry the saddlebag with them when they leave the bike.

  13. avatar davida says:

    There are a good number of well dressed hand guns and carbines that can fit nicely into a standard brief case and be less conspicuious too.

  14. avatar jwtaylor says:

    Here in Hays County they use a 10 inch SBR with a law tactical folding stock. Fits inside the hard case. You never know it’s there.

  15. avatar JasonM says:

    Can I get one of those mounts for my BMW?

    1. avatar Defens says:

      Ah, no. For the Beemers, you have to buy the German-made Touratech mount, which costs $2000 USD and only fits certain HK models. If you get an AR anywhere near a Beemer, the fuel injection cuts out. Just kidding….

      But – I have been thinking about building a Kydex scabbard that would hold my latest .300 Blackout AR pistol, and could quickly transition from my dirt bike to my F650 Dakar, to my R1200GS.

  16. avatar K9 Handler says:

    LAPD and CHP have been running AR mounts on their motor units for 5-6 years now.

  17. avatar Harley says:

    A good weapon is a good weapon. The motorcycle is not so practical. Can not believe PC’s still use them. Can you say sitting duck?

  18. avatar Shawn says:

    Police in AZ have had AR15’s for years. Hundreds of them. Usually is cruisers and SUV’s. The logic is that motorcycle officers can respond to calls faster and can get places your regular police cruiser can’t.

    And they are semi-auto. I know have a neighbor in the PLEA who I talked to about it when they got 100 of them a few years back.

  19. avatar Matt o says:

    I’m not sure that’s the best way to mount it, and a sbr would probably be a better option

    1. avatar Mark H says:

      Pretty certain DPS is using a similar mount. Theirs are definitely SBRs though.

  20. avatar Carrucan says:

    I pray those ARs don’t start shooting people on their own.

  21. avatar ironicatbest says:

    Rocket pods , twin mounted .30 cal minigun, land mines, and heat seeking missile’s, and Rambo that cycop out like Terminator, Get him off that dog slow Harley and put him on a pink chrome plated Busa , everything pink chrome except the tires. And a Trojan helmet with horse hair spikey ups and a banana yellow leather jumpsuit with lime green stripes.Thats for the HiWay Patrol. The locals get a Vespa and a .9 mm

  22. avatar rocketscientist says:

    how about that, an actual legitimate use-case for a mandated RFID firearm lock. Do we actually know how these rifles are removed from the mount? please tell me it isn’t just a “trick” that only cops know and an actual lock of some sort that allows for quick removal?

  23. avatar Sam Toucan says:

    Meanwhile, if Joe Blow citizen shoves a gun into the chrome racks of their bike Terminator style, they get pulled over and surrounded by dozens of cops for “Brandishing.”

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