CALUMET TOWNSHIP - Drivers on U.S. 41 between Hancock and Calumet have been treated to an unfamiliar sight this week: cops on motorcycles.
Two state troopers from District 2, near Detroit, are on special assignment to the Calumet post this week for FinnFest.
Troopers Korey Rowe and Randy Phare, part of the MSP Motor Unit, arrived in Calumet on Sunday and will head back to Detroit on Saturday. Tuesday, they were about to set off on their Harley-Davidsons for patrols on U.S. 41 between Hancock and Calumet.
With the start of FinnFest, they'll be doing things such as riding in the Bridgefest parade and escorting Pertti Torstila, Finland's secretary of state for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
"Down in Detroit, that's what we do, it's a lot of dignitary escorts and presidential motorcades," Rowe said.
It's a sort of homecoming for both troopers: Rowe is from Calumet, while Phare grew up in Iron Mountain.
"It's a nice little chance for the two of us to come back home, and experience the difference," Rowe said.
Phare, too, said it's great to be back.
"People up here are very nice. Everyone's interested in the bikes and taking pictures," he said. "It's nice to get out of the city and help out up here."
People have been so excited, they haven't minded being pulled over, Rowe said.
"A lot of people are actually excited when we stop them, if you can believe that," Rowe said. "You walk up to them, and they're smiling."
Besides the novelty, the motorcycles offer another practical advantage, Rowe said: If there's an emergency during the festival, the motorcycles can squeeze through spots cars can't.
Lt. Mike Loyd, commander of the Calumet post, said the post welcomes the chance to have extra people on hand for FinnFest.
"We thought if we could get them to come up and help with patrols, the visibility would make the roads safer," he said.