Police Authorized to Stop and Seize Illegal Operated ATVs and Dirt Bikes
In recent months, the illegal use of ATVs and dirt bikes on the City of Providence’s streets and in its parks has become a growing concern. The illegal operation of these vehicles threatens the safety and quality of life of Providence residents. On July 20, 2017, the City Council unanimously passed a resolution, sponsored by Council Majority Whip Jo-Ann Ryan, establishing an ATV Task Force and dedicated Tip Line, based on best practices from Baltimore, MD and Washington, DC.
The City Council has worked with the Providence Police Department (PPD) to strengthen existing legislation on ATV and dirt bike enforcement. However, there is a misconception that still exists that PPD has a strict “no-chase policy” regarding ATVs and dirt bikes. No such prohibition exists and Police Officers are authorized to pursue ATVs and dirt bikes, and other illegally operated vehicles according to PPD Policy.
“As with any law enforcement action, officers are trained to use their best judgment in these situations,” said Councilwoman Jo-Ann Ryan (Ward 5). “Our officers are empowered to pursue, stop, and seize unlawfully operated vehicles.”
Chief of Police, Colonel Hugh T. Clements reiterated that there is not a “no chase” policy for ATVs and dirt bikes, stating, “The Providence Police has a Pursuit Policy, when illegally operated ATV`s flee from the streets into city Parks there is a danger to pursuit. PPD has been utilizing the newly created task force to catch and stop ATV`s being illegally operated on our city streets.” Colonel Clements added, “continued support from city residents notifying the Tip Line of these hot spot areas will play a key role in enforcement”.
To support its legislative work the Council made provisions to set aside $300,000 in the fiscal year 2018 budget for traffic and nuisance control funding. The PPD will utilize a portion of these funds for ATV enforcement. The Council continues to work with the PPD to develop operational support for the Task Force, establish the Tip Line and explore new approaches and enhancements to ATV enforcement.