I-Team: New push to control dirt bike street takeovers

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The FOX 8 I TEAM has learned Cleveland Police are exploring new ways to control crowds of dirt bikes and ATVs blocking traffic, doing wheelies and taking over city streets.

An internal memo shows “…the Bureau of Traffic is working on a modified response to the growing issue of ‘Street Take-Overs’…”.

This comes as many drivers have become fed up with the bikes and officers have become frustrated because they can’t crack down on the crowds.

Retired officer Dave Reuse said he recently almost shot a man on a dirt bike after a confrontation. Reuse said, "I swerved, or I would have absolutely hit him and ran him over. He ends up stopping right in front of my vehicle threatening me.” Reuse said he then pulled a gun on the guy with the bike. "I threw it in park. And I told him, you better come out with open hands, get your hands up." Reuse said the man then rode off.

Many drivers believe police have done too little for too long about the street takeovers. Meantime, Cleveland Police officers on patrol get angry and frustrated by the big groups of bikes. Multiple sources have told the I TEAM, officers have not been allowed to chase the bikes. And officers complain, some riders taunt them by riding in circles around police cars.

Johnnie Burton is a dirt bike and motorcycle enthusiast. He wants to see the city move forward with talk of building a dirt bike track. He admits some of the riders get reckless, but he argues they’re not hardened criminals. Burton said, "Some of these are everyday guys who go to work every day and come home and find an outlet on their motorcycle or dirt bike."

Police said they’re working on a “public awareness plan." That internal memo refers to getting citizens to provide more information about the groups in the streets. The I TEAM asked if there will be any change in policy outlining how officers should handle the street takeovers, and we were told it is being drafted.

Reuse hopes for more than just asking citizens to call with information.

He added, "On nice days, it’s an all day and everyday occurrence."