Prince George’s County police will start using a new tool this weekend that authorities hope will catch illegal ATV riders flat-footed — or in this case flat-tired.
Police plan to deploy a device that will puncture holes in tires and cause them to slowly deflate.
The idea is to force off-road vehicles that are operating illegally on highways and public roads to slow down when riders typically ignore police commands to pull over.
Police announced the use of the new tire deflating tool as part of a crackdown planned for Labor Day weekend that will target the illegal operation of ATVs and dirtbikes on public roads.
Swarms of the off-road vehicles have choked streets in downtown D.C., the National Harbor and other parts of the region, terrorizing motorists and pedestrians. But it has been difficult for police to make arrests. Riders don’t stop when law enforcement tells them to pull over and officers can’t chase them for fear of causing crashes and endangering others.
Prince George’s police said it will deploy more than 50 officers this weekend and work with Maryland State Police to monitor and go after illegal operations of ATVs and dirtbikes.
Law enforcement are also expect to launch helicopters and record illegal riding to later identify people and make arrests.
Cpl. Tyler Hunter, a spokesman for Prince George’s County police, said the deployment with Maryland State Police will be one of the largest the department has launched over a holiday weekend to deter illegal ATV and dirt bikes from taking over roads.
Hunter said the tire deflating device will be used when officers determine it is safe to redirect or slow down riders “causing havoc on our roadways.”