The only place to legally use ATVs in Suffolk County is on private property, Suffolk police noted at a Friday demonstration at which they destroyed 10 of the vehicles to show how they are cracking down on illegal usage.
At a Friday news conference at Suffolk police’s Yaphank garage, Chief Stuart Cameron said the department had changed its policy on the all-terrain vehicles seized for illegal use and would now destroy the ATVs.
In the past ATVs seized by police would either be kept for public safety purposes, such as using them to target illegally used vehicles on parkland, or sold to the public, Cameron said.
Oftentimes police would later have to go after the ATVs that had been sold, Cameron said.
“What we’re trying to do is minimize the possibility of a revolving door where we seize an all-terrain vehicle, sell it and our police officers have to chase the same all-terrain vehicle,” Cameron said.
Cameron also said officers would never again chase an illegally used ATV for the safety its driver, the police and other people around them.
Last year, county Resolution 1090 created stricter rules on illegal use of ATVs, said Sarah Anker, Suffolk County 6th District legislator. Under the legislation, police can seize and destroy an illegally used ATV after a second offense.
Anker, who co-sponsored the legislation, said illegal ATV usage is a problem in her district, which covers the northeast portion of the Town of Brookhaven and includes Miller Place, Sound Beach, Shoreham and Rocky Point.
“Folks get on their ATVs and they literally terrorize my residents,” Anker said. “They’re fun. They’re in between cars and toys, but you have to be responsible. There are places to ride your ATVs but not on local roads and not in our parks.”