Madison officers pass motorcyle training

Madison officers pass motorcyle training


MADISON — After more than 80 hours of specialized training, two police officers here have become the two latest additions to the Madison Police Department Motorcycle Unit.

Officers Tristan Ainsworth and Christian Venzen recently completed the 11-day Texas A&M’s Extension Services Basic Police Motorcycle Operations course in Covington, La., from March 18 through March 29.

“Thank You to all of the instructors at TEEX for pouring into our guys for two weeks to master a skill set beneficial to public safety,” Taylor said.

This course is 80 hours where students orient to the terminology, driving skills, and liability issues that relate to the operations of a police motorcycle, Taylor said. This training enhances an officer’s ability to operate a police motorcycle in a variety of situations by teaching personal and vehicle control limitations. 

"The primary duties of the motorcycle unit is enforcing the traffic laws, investigating accidents, handling of escorts inside and through the city, special events, and assisting patrol officers during high periods of calls,” MPD Lt. Micah Taylor said.

This makes five potential motorcycle officers for the city of Madison. In addition to Taylor, the unit is currently made up of officers John Cannon and Skyler Burks. Taylor said Ainsworth has already done shifts on the motorcycle and hopes to have Venzen in action soon.

Venzen has been with the Madison Police Department for two years. He joined shortly after he graduated from Belhaven University where he ran track for the Blazers.

“This was my first real job out of college,” Venzen said, noting he was hired probably two days after he graduated in April of 2022.

Originally from Carthage, Venzen said he was drawn to the profession because he wanted to help people.

“I have a passion for helping people,” Venzen said.

As recently as November Venzen said he was active as a volunteer firefighter in his hometown.

Ainsworth found his way to Madison by a bit more circuitous route. Originally from Helena, Arkansas, his wife, Hannah Ainsworth, is originally from Mississippi. After four years in the Marine Corps as a Military Police Officer, Ainsworth said he and his wife wanted “Something more stationary, somewhere where we could start a family,” which brought them to Madison. He and his wife now have a ten-month-old, Caurie Ainsworth.

Ainsworth has been with MPD for about two and a half years.

Both officers said they have enjoyed riding motorcycles most of their lives. Ainsworth said he and his father have ridden bikes together and that he was always into dirt bikes as a kid.

“I already had experience riding,” Ainsworth said. “I really like motorcycles.”

Though Venzen had not ridden as much in college due to the possibility of injury jeopardizing his running career, he said he has enjoyed riding motorcycles at various points in his life.

“I have always had a love for bikes,” Venzen said.

For Venzen the final decision to join the motor unit came from Cannon. Cannon took Venzen out for some training on his second day on the job. This sparked a friendship that would lead to Cannon recommending Venzen for a spot on the unit.

“It was a done deal,” Venzen said.

Ainsworth said the course taught them to “break old habits” and form new ones that not only improved their ability to ride but also to make decisions that could save their lives.

Not everyone finishes the pass-or-fail course. Ainsworth and Venzen started with seven other officers from throughout the southeast and finished with four.

The biggest obstacle of the class was dealing with stress, Venzen said.

“It is 95 percent stress,” Venzen said.

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