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Following An Attack On Cops, Springfield Cracks Down On Dirt Bikes

Springfield Police Dept

Police in Springfield, Massachusetts have declared zero tolerance for the urban nuisance of illegal dirt bike operators.

Undercover police officers riding motorcycles and bicycles have been deployed to Springfield’s North End neighborhood with orders to roundup gangs of youths riding dirt bikes illegally on city streets and terrorizing motorists.

Acting Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood ordered the crackdown after a dirt bike rider hurled a chunk of concrete at a police officer’s head and smashed a brick through the rear window of a police cruiser.

" That brought out some anger," Clapprood said in an interview Thursday. "If that is the game plan they have, then we have to step up our game."

The Springfield City Council recently petitioned the state legislature to allow police to seek a court-ordered forfeiture of confiscated dirt bikes.

The Council also gave initial approval to an ordinance to greatly stiffen penalities for recklessly operating dirt bikes.  A second offense could carry a maximium fine of $2,500.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.