OHV - ATV : A Message from Interim Chief of Police Vaughn Bond

A Message from Interim Chief of Police Vaughn Bond

Corporal Tracey Duffy from New Castle County Police Department ·


As the winter begins to wind down and warm weather approaches, I wanted to take a moment and share with you some information regarding the New Castle County Division of Police’s response to complaints involving Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV) and All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV). We understand that the illegal use of these vehicles continues to be a constant source of citizen generated complaints. OHV violations create quality of life issues for many of our citizens and frustrations as we continually hear that the police did not respond or took no action. This could not be further from the truth. The Division of Police responds to all calls for service, no matter the nature or severity, and I will share the process.

All calls for service are received by our Regional Communications Center (RECOM) and prioritized prior to dispatch. As you can imagine reports of assaults, burglaries, robberies, and domestic violence will take precedence. Due to call volumes, it is not uncommon for complaints of this nature to pend for some time but be assured, it will be assigned to an officer. If a reporting person would like an update or contact after the fact, they must request contact from the officer. The computer aided dispatch system will default to no contact unless it is specifically requested by the person calling in the complaint.

The response to and subsequent investigation of illegal OHV and ATV operations presents unique challenges to any investigating law enforcement agency. Oftentimes, the operators observe the officer prior to their arrival and flee the scene. In the event the officer is able to arrive undetected, it is quite common for the operator to flee upon contact. It is the policy of the Division of Police to NOT pursue these operators as it places the operator, police officer, and most importantly the public at great risk. So how do we catch and hold these subjects accountable you ask? At times, we are able to make in-progress apprehensions, issue the appropriate traffic tickets, and tow the offending vehicle. In the event that we are unable to make an in-progress apprehension, the community’s assistance is paramount. We strongly encourage everyone to report these activities to either 911 or the 573-2800 non-emergency number. Please provide a detailed description of the OHV and its operator. In the event the OHV was transported to or from the scene, please provide any vehicle description and registration information. If you are able to identify which residence they returned to or originated from, that is excellent. Officers will respond to those locations and make contact with the operators.

In the coming days, the Division of Police will be issuing a Reverse 911 message to communities historically plagued by OHV violations. This recorded message will inform the public of OHV laws and the reporting procedures. It is important to note, not all OHV operation is illegal. Operation on private property does not constitute a violation of the motor vehicle code. Over the years, we have found that most operators reside in our jurisdiction but are riding illegally in the jurisdiction of the Delaware State Police. We are working closely with the Delaware State Police to ensure we are both taking consistent enforcement action. The Division of Police recently deployed Community Engagement Specialists, an extension of our Community Services Unit, which provides around the clock community support. As these officers are not driven by 911 calls for service, we anticipate them to be available to respond to these complaints in an expedient manner. I am confident that by working together with the community, we will send a strong message that these types of illegal activities will not be tolerated.

I thank you in advance for your assistance,

Lt. Col. Vaughn M. Bond, Jr.
Acting Chief of Police, NCC
Shared with all areas in New Castle County Police Department in General

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