I found an interesting article recently in a local newspaper called The Valley Breeze. It’s about a vintage police Harley-Davidson Servi-car for sale. But what made the article so interesting, is that the trike could be returning to its original owner, the Cumberland, Rhode Island police department.
It was 1964 when the Cumberland, Rhode Island police department first purchased the police version, 1964 Harley-Davidson Servi-car. Its shiny black paint glimmering in the sunshine, the three-wheeled bike quickly became a source of pride for the department. And for years, many officers rode the machine on patrol.
In 1968, Ken Milligan came onboard the Cumberland Police Department and was one of three riders during the 1970s. Unfortunately, as time went on, the department was using the bike less and less. Sometime in the 1980s, the department sold the bike more than 20 years after it was originally purchased. A Pawtucket, Rhode Island resident ended up buying the trike and used it for daily transportation.
Servi-car renewed interest
Years after the sale, Ken Milligan’s son, Alan, who was now also a police officer, saw the bike being ridden around the neighborhood. Hoping that the department might have some interest in re-acquiring the machine, he spoke with then-Police Chief Tony Silva that the bike was still in the area.
Silva told Milligan if he could find the bike, he’d be interested in purchasing it for parade duties. But by that time, Milligan could not find the Harley and it faded from interest.
But in 2015, the police department received a call from a California man named John Moulton. Molton said he had purchased the bike at auction in Reno, Nevada. After finding the bill of sale to the first private owner in the bike’s trunk, Moulton now knew where the bike came from.
And Moulton hoped the department could help him finalize his restoration of the trike. It seems that the bike no longer had its flashing police emergency light and Moulton hoped the department could help him find a replacement.
It also just so happens that Alan Milligan was in the office when Moulton’s call came in. Milligan told Moulton that if he ever wanted to sell the bike, Milligan wanted the first call.
That phone call
Fast forward a few years and Alan Milligan has retired from the police department. Milligan’s phone rings and it is the current chief’s administrative assistant on the line. She tells Milligan that Moulton was trying to get in touch with him about the Harley. As for the trike, it now only had about 31,790 miles on it. That’s less than 3,000 more miles than when it was sold in the 1980s. And, it still had its original paint.
By this time, the bike has grown a “premium” price tag of $25,000. Milligan knew that the police department wouldn’t have that kind of money in its budget for the bike. Undaunted, Milligan went straight to Cumberland Mayor Jeff Mutter with the idea for the town to purchase the bike. It could once again be used for parade duty.
While the mayor likes the idea of the purchase, there are no immediate budget funds available. So the bike’s acquisition is far from certain. Ultimately, the purchase of the bike will likely require the approval of the Cumberland Town Council.
Alan Milligan still hopes that the acquisition can be made, but admits that private funding may be necessary to return the bike to Cumberland. Nonetheless, he’s hopeful that the one-time police bike can return to its home in Cumberland, Rhode Island.
All photo credit: The Valley Breeze