I-Team: Cleveland has no new plan to crack down on illegal dirt bikes

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CLEVELAND (WJW) – Cleveland City Hall has no new plan for cracking down on illegal dirt bikes, even after the FOX 8 I-Team revealed exclusive video that left so many people outraged.

A week ago, the I-Team showed you hundreds of illegal dirt bikes and ATVs taking over city streets and the freeway. Some riders even fired gunshots as they rolled along.

On Wednesday, city council members demanded to know what will be done about the dirt bikes.

The safety director offered no new hope of police doing anything to stop packs of dirt bikes if it happens again.

Council members grilled the safety director.

“What are we paying the police for? Are we getting anything for the taxes that we pay?” said Councilman Kevin Bishop.

“We have not seen this kind of lawlessness ever before,” Councilman Joe Jones said.

The Council Safety Committee said something has to be done to take back the streets from the riders.

City patrol officers say they have orders to not chase the bikes.

Police have a special unit to target dirt bikes, but during that massive takeover days ago, the special unit was not on the streets.

“Look at what other cities have done. We need to do it, and, Mr. Chairman to the safety director, we need to do it sooner rather than later,” Councilman Brian Kazy said.

Safety Director Karrie Howard responded with, “We’re looking for a solution.”

While he talked about a solution, he brought up nothing to immediately address the problem. Howard spoke about the need to hire more police and get more tips about the riders from citizens.

“When they’re out traveling en masse, we need calls from the public to tell us where they are,” Howard said.

During the last big street takeover, police got 911 calls about the dirt bikes over the course of hours and it didn’t matter.

Records show, since 2019, police have taken more than 2,300 complaint calls, but investigators have seized just seven dirt bikes and ATVs.

Council Public Safety Chairman Blaine Griffin also asked about the Cleveland Police chopper, suggesting that it should be used more in cracking down on the packs of riders.

Recently, the I-Team found that city hall let the police chopper maintenance contract expire last year.

The safety director did not directly address that.

Councilman Mike Polensek left the hearing disgusted.

“This administration is incapable of dealing with citizen complaints and maintaining public safety in our streets,” he said. “I’ve heard nothing that gives me any hope that laws are going to be enforced in this city.”

Last week, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley also called out the Cleveland Police for not doing enough about the dirt bikes. The safety director and a police deputy chief also did not address that.

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