Cops add dirt bikes to patrol


Citizens say they're dangerous, destructive and loud, so Philly police try to get dirt bikes off city streets.

But last weekend, the police put two dirt bikes on the street. With $14,000 raised from businesses and community groups, police bought two Suzuki dirt bikes to patrol the 24th District, which covers a 6.6-square mile area that includes Kensington, Port Richmond and Juniata Park. In just two nights of patrolling, Officers Paul Groves and James Martin made two arrests, for gun and narcotics offenses, district commander Capt. Charles Vogt said during a public unveiling this morning at district headquarters on Whitaker near E. 

"We're looking for a long, productive run from those bikes," Vogt said. The dirt bikes will help police patrol hard-to-reach spots like Tacony Creek Park, which has been plagued by vandals, dumpers and illegal ATV and dirt bike riders, and the land around railroad tracks, where drug activity and robberies often occur, Vogt said. He said he hopes the community will continue raising money so his district can buy two more dirt bikes. Police in other districts, including Northeast Philly and North Philly, also use dirt bikes to patrol.

"It gives the police an extra tool to be able to fight crime," said Derick Scudder, a Juniata Park pastor who helped raise money for the bikes.

Those who donated money to buy the dirt bikes included: the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Bachmann Industries, the Richmond, Aramingo and Kensington business associations, Walmart and the Philadelphia Cycle Center.