‘We know we’re making a dent’: Providence police says efforts to rein in illegal ATV, dirt bike use are working


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — When it comes to the Providence Police Department’s continued crackdown on the illegal use of ATVs and dirt bike throughout the city, Col. Hugh Clements has one message for riders.

“Stay out of Providence,” he warned while testifying during a Providence City Council Finance Committee Monday night. “Go elsewhere, because we’re going to stay fully on board with enforcing … and taking your bikes off the street.”

Throughout his testimony, Clements outlined how the department has been handling the illegal use of off-road vehicles.

Clements said plainclothes officers have been patrolling the streets in an effort to inconspicuously locate groups of riders, and all officers have been ordered to confiscate illegal vehicles on the spot.

The department’s direct approach is working, according to Clements. He said since mid-August, officers have removed more than 50 ATVs and dirt bikes from the streets.

“We’ve done well,” Clements said. “We know we’re making a dent.”

Clements said their efforts to rid the streets of off-road vehicles has forced riders to go elsewhere. He told city councilors Boston police recently confiscated 20 illegal vehicles, nearly all of which came from Providence.

After hearing from Clements, the Providence City Council passed a resolution demanding Mayor Jorge Elorza to enforce an existing ordinance that prohibits the use of ATVs and dirt bikes in the city.

The resolution was originally introduced two weeks ago by Council President John Igliozzi and Finance Chairwoman Jo-Ann Ryan and is the latest attempt to crack down on the citywide issue.

Next door, Cranston Police Chief Michael Winquist tells 12 News the city hasn’t seen large groups of riders since the department joined forces with Providence police earlier this year.

“Just a few individuals or two or three riders in Cranston infrequently,” Winquist said. “The inactivity has been verified by residents who previously reported seeing large groups of riders.”

Winquist said despite the inactivity in Cranston, they’re still working alongside Providence police to address the issue.

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