Steve Dye is a Texas native who serves as Deputy City Manager and Chief of Police in Grand Prairie Texas. He has over 30 years of experience in law enforcement and has served as Chief of Police since 2011. He's a member of esteemed organizations like the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). He serves on the IACP Terrorism Committee and the FBI's North Texas Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory Executive Board. He's deeply committed to making our community a better place, and he's been doing so his entire life.
In 2001 he was a "motor jock" in Garland, Texas. When he and a partner were escorting a Dallas toy run he was drawn to the cause, but he felt there had to be a way to make the event bigger and better. He realized early on he needed a group of volunteers, so he talked to us at Dallas Harley-Davidson®.
Funds raised at the event go to Shriner's hospitals in Galveston and Houston for burn victims and children with orthopedic conditions. Chief Dye and Jerry Patterson worked with the Dallas Harley Owner's Group to put together the event that's in its 17th year. He says there are two things that make the MotorCops for Kids toy run different from all the others: the obstacle course competition and the fully police-escorted ride.
MOTORCOPS COMPETITION FOR CIVILIANS
If you've never seen a police motorcycle competition, check out this link to the Grand Prairie Police Motorcycle Rodeo. From the beginning Chief Dye wanted to offer a similar competition for civilians that included an obstacle course and slow ride. Also from the beginning he encountered criticism.
"They said it was a bad idea," he remembers. "They said people were going to damage their bikes and that they were going to hurt themselves." From the first event the competition was a huge draw and the result was actually safer riding across the board.
Civilians have a chance to ride the same type of course motorcycle police officers compete on. Riders on all types of bikes have a competitive environment to perform skill-based exercises. Performance is judged on both time and precision.
Some ride for the best performance over all. Others come back year after year, riding through the course multiple times to push the limits of their own capabilities.
The motorcycle challenge course was such a hit, other organizations took notice. The Skilled Motorcycle Rider's Association developed as a result and offers similar competitions across the nation.
Instead of the MotorCops for Kids competition causing damaged bikes and injured bodies, it made riders safer. Participants hone their skills year-round to compete, and that translates into keen riding skills on Dallas streets.
The event doesn't just raise money for families facing huge medical challenges, it saves motorcycle riders' lives. That's a benefit Chief Dye said he would never have imagined. "We're producing safer civilian riders and we'll never know how many accidents were avoided."
THE MOTORCOPS FOR KIDS RIDE -- NEVER PUT YOUR FOOT DOWN
When Steve Dye and Jerry Patterson developed their vision for the event, they wanted riders to have an experience. They wanted people to have a long, scenic ride they could remember.
Each year's event is fully police escorted, so riders never have to put a foot down from beginning to end. The Garland Police Department provides around 40 police officers every year and Chief Dye brings his from Grand Prairie. They coordinate with cities like Rowlett and Rockwall.
Spectators line the streets and bring their kids to watch the bikes go by. To date they've had more than 24,180 motorcycles participate.
CHIEF DYE'S ADVICE ON CRUSHING IT ON THE OBSTACLE COURSE
He had two suggestions for people looking to improve their time or performance on the motorcycle challenge:
- "Practice, practice, practice. That's how I developed my skills as a motorcycle police officer."
- "Don't be afraid to lean your motorcycle. As long as you've got power to the back wheel you're not going to fall over. I remember when I was working motorcycle accidents a civilian rider would be afraid to lean on a curve, so they'd strike a curb and have an accident. And don't put your foot down. If it gets caught under a foot-board you could break an ankle."
WHAT HE SAYS MAKES THE WHOLE THING WORK
Every year he's struck by the fact that without the participants, MotorCops for Kids wouldn't be a successful event that has raised almost $400,000 and gathered 14,884 toys for children in need. "I give credit back to the riders, "he says, "because they have choices. Every year we have so many that choose to come, and I'm very grateful for that."
He also credits the Dallas H.O.G. group. They do fundraising events throughout the year and volunteers start raising money even before the toy run. For them it's a labor of love, and he says what they do makes the event a success.
HIS ADVICE FOR OTHERS
Chief Dye is one man who makes a huge difference every day. Here's what he tells his officers:
"If you have an idea, go for it. Dream big. I had an idea for a toy run that could help an exemplary cause, so I went and found a great group of volunteers. As Muhammed Ali said, 'Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.'"
It's clear he lives by his own advice. This year's event is Sunday, November 18 starting at 10 a.m. You can find out more about MotorCops for Kids on their website. For event information you can also contact us here at Dallas Harley-Davidson® in Garland Texas.