Illegal dirt bikes and other OHV’s have been a growing concerning not just in Springfield and Western Massachusetts but across the country. The City of Springfield has identified four means to help address this quality of life and public safety issue. The regional meeting with our local partners is just the first of many that will happen to coordinate a comprehensive response to address this issue. Other stakeholders involved in helping to address this issue include the Massachusetts State Police, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Trial Courts, the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department, and just as important our residents and business community.
To date, the City of Springfield has established and taken four (4) key measures to address this quality of life and public safety issue. Both the City of Chicopee and the City of Holyoke will be reviewing similar measures in their respective municipalities.
- Municipal fines, on top of the state fines, for the illegal operation of dirt-bikes and OHV’s. Reviewing the potential to add teeth for enforcement of municipal fines.
- Home Rule Petition – allow the local police department to have the authority to confiscate and destroy illegal dirt-bikes and OHV’s.
- Gas Station Ordinance – prohibiting gas stations from selling gas to illegal dirt-bikes and OHV’s.
- Strengthen the regional taskforce to go after illegal dirt-bikes and OHV. Text-A-Tip line where individuals can share information on potential illegal dirt-bikes and OHV’s anonymously. You can Text-A-Tip by texting the word ‘CRIMES’ (2-7-4-6-3-7). After that, type the word ‘SOLVE’ and then type the information and press send. All tips remain anonymous. Mayor Sarno states, “With this approach we strike and confiscate where they are and being stored before they can even get on our streets to cause mayhem.”
“I want to thank Mayor Murphy for reaching out and inviting everyone and for hosting this very important quality of life and public safety meeting,” Mayor Sarno continued. “This issue is not an isolated one that can be addressed by one municipality. There must be a coordinated approach with all of our regional partners from our local police departments to our court system and our residents and business community. We’ve also spoken to and thanked acting State Public Safety Secretary Terry Reidy and State Police Colonel Christopher Mason about their continued collaboration with our task forces and ‘the eye in the sky’ helicopter use too.”
“These illegal dirt bikes are not just a nuisance; they are a danger to the public,” said Representative Ramos. “I’m encouraged by the idea of taking a regional approach to this issue. By sharing ideas and information, and with the help of the public, we can be even more effective in helping take these illegal vehicles off our streets.”
“I want to applaud State Representative Orlando Ramos for his continued leadership and due diligence on this matter. I would strongly encourage our state delegation to pass Representative Ramos’ legislation that would allow our brave and dedicated men and women in Blue to confiscate and destroy these illegal vehicles,” Mayor Sarno added. “I know after talking with both Mayor Murphy and Mayor Vieau, both Holyoke and Chicopee will be looking to pass similar local Home Rule Petitions with the State Legislature. I would guess that this unique legislation might gain traction and who knows, may legislation can be passed statewide that would help address this issue that is plaguing our communities across the Commonwealth.”