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Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

 Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Palmdale Station's grant proposal.

As a resident of Palmdale, and an avid "off-roader", I am particularly concerned with the subject matter of the grant.  My interest lies in protecting our natural resources as well as protecting the rights of law-abiding off-road vehicle drivers.

My feeling about the proposal is that it seems to be vastly under-reaching.  Law enforcement alone will never solve the problem of trespassing or misuse of public lands.  This law enforcement proposal should be expanded to include public awareness initiatives.  Education of the off-road community will go a long way toward resolving these problems, and help avoid potentially dangerous encounters with enforcement officers in the first place.

I understand that there will always be a select few citizens who operate with blatant disregard for the law.  Enforcement activities will remain necessary for these people.  There are likely many more operators who simply do not know the limits of legal use, and are unaware of the impact their activity is having on the environment.  My suggestion is for those who operate without knowing the boundaries of public lands available for off-road use.  Many riders / drivers of off-road vehicles could benefit from a clear, definitive map that outlines areas where they can ride and where they cannot in simple terms.  Many of the maps currently available, both printed and online, offer conflicting or unclear information as to the legality of operating in a particular area.

Making this information widely available would go a long way toward keeping riders within the established boundaries, and it would also make prosecution of offenders that much easier.

As always, this problem is being addressed with too few personnel and too little money and other resources.  Education is traditionally cheaper than enforcement and prosecution.  For that reason, I suggest that the grant proposal be expanded to include an extensive public awareness campaign and online education presence.

Thanks again, and keep up the good work. Shane Purcell - 3/3/14

 My town of Agua Dulce, California, has a population of about 4,000 people and we have one resident sheriff to patrol our entire area. This area is a rural equestrian community with mountainous terrain, vast vegetation and mostly dirt roads. Local residents live here to enjoy the Pacific Crest Trails, Angeles National Forest, and the other informal trail systems maintained for equestrians. However, the serenity of this rural nature is often destroyed by illegal motor vehicles and their frequent criminal behavior. These riders constantly trespass on my property, destroy gates, cut off chains and locks, break fencing, frighten and endanger my horses, and are always confrontational when I’m present to witness their destruction of my property. I have numerous private property signs and law enforcement signs informing such riders of their illegal conduct. We need OHV teams to access these areas because a patrol car physically cannot utilize these trails to track down the wrongdoers. When OHV has conducted patrols and issued citations, we typically see short-term drops in activity.
 
In addition to needing the OHV for targeting the off-road nuisance, we also need their services because many of the vehicles they come into contact with do not have spark arresters. Without spark arresters, these bikes pose a significant risk of forest fires. We are in a burn zone and pay significant insurance rates plus the cost of land clearance each year. The state needs to do its part in preventing fires and this unit is one way to do that by taking these dangerous illegal vehicles out of fire zones and forcing them into legal riding areas.
 
Finally, I want to thank the OHV and specifically Sgt. Mark Johnston and Sgt. Jeff Acton for the continued communication with my family to help us feel safe and secure in our area. Due to the hostile nature of the off-road trespassers, I often feel vulnerable to their threatening behavior. However, Sgt. Acton is only a phone call away and that gives me peace of mind. Even when he isn’t on duty, he gets a patrol to us as soon as possible. Finally, my family and friends are constantly hiking and horseback riding on these trails and having a team of officers familiar with the trails would mean having deputies who could aid in locating us in the event of an emergency. I like personally knowing the law enforcement officers who are protecting my family and relying on them for our safety. Marcy Calnan, JD, MEd.- 3/4/14

 To whom it may concern, I am writing in response to the article in the AV Press Tuesday March 4,2014 regarding the Off Highway Vehicle Enforcement Team. My husband and I live at 2630 W. ave M4 Palmdale Ca. We have lived here for 9 years and have had nothing but problems with off road vehicles. Our roads are not paved and have become a free for all who enjoy these types of activities. We have made countless phone calls to the sheriffs station over the past 9 years since we have lived here. Not to mention the amount of money we have spent repairing our roads since we are responsible for maintaining them. Most of the neighbors in our area own and ride there horses down these streets. I myself have been injured during riding my horse on my own property because of dirt bikes going through the easement for the water co. We are still a residential neighborhood and just because are roads are dirt does not mean it ok. We had been in contact with Sheriff Acton when this team first started. There was a period of time when our neighborhood was being patrolled by the enforcement team and I can not begin to tell you how much a difference it made. We would love to see them here again. Angel Acosta - 3/4/14

 Dear Palmdale Sheriff station, i would like to comment on your off road patrols.

it is serious waste of money to have officers patroling petty crime. This is not a $109,213 problem that tax payers or the city needs to enforce. A squad car driving by can deter most teenage kids from riding around houses.
 
As for distroying the environment just look at the solar panels scaping the land and the windmills changing the look of the landscape. Those two industries have been far more damaging then that caused by off road vehiles.
 
Off road activity is not a crime it is a why of live for many people of the high desert who enjoy open spaces. Riding around houses is a sure way to attract unwanted attention and it is a nuisance. I feel it can be stopped with a patrol car apperance or a neighbor just talking to the problem.
 
Dont buy into more officers are needed because they are not. Lancaster has a $90,000 a month plane flying over my house every half hour waiting for crime to happen. It is noisy nuisance that is unnecessary and a waste of tax dollars.
 
Thank you considering my comment, Tom Miller - 3/4/14

 The Off road sheriff team has reduced the overall damage to my farm by 100% from damage to my road and tree farm. I fully support their efforts. Prior to their help I was repairing my road on a daily basis from "little Gremlins (big ones to) on 2 and four wheel vehicles, ripping up everything in site. My hat is off to the brave officers that conduct this hazardous duty. Frank Chiodo, Owner, Tree Farm - 3/4/14

I am strongly in favor of the Off Highway Vehicle Enforcement Team. I noticed in the explanation of the Proposed Project that there has been a decrease in OHV related calls for service in the past year. I also noticed that the assumption was made that, “This would indicate the efforts we have been able to put forth toward the enforcement and education of the enthusiasts have been successful.”

I would contest that assumption. I have reduced my calls for service due to the lack of response when I do call as no response is made. As I understand it the Off Highway Vehicle Enforcement Team operates only on weekends and during special events, and that requests for service, in a given area, must be made to the Sergeant in charge ahead of time. The problem with this is contacting that Sergeant.

The necessity for the unit has certainly not been reduced in my view. Gordon Boling - 3/5/14

 I have been living in the Santa Clarita Valley for over twenty years and am an avid off road enthusiast.  I've seen the progression of riding areas close down over the years and could never really understand why.  For example, Drinkwater flats used to be accessible via Haskell Canyon road. Now, however, it is only accessible via the hill climb off of San Fransiquito.  I was told it was closed due to "restoration" yet it remains to be closed.  I would simply like to expand the riding areas locally and cut more trails in either Texas Canyon (Rower Flats) or Drinkwater Canyon.  I would also like to add that it would be a big source of revenue for the SCV if a MX / UTV park with race tracks were constructed in Texas Canyon. There is plenty of room that is simply fenced off where this park could easily become a reality.  MX riders gladly pay $25 per day to ride any other tracks (some are hours away). Just imagine the turnout each week from SCV riders alone!! It would be a great idea to consider.  Thank you for your time and I hope you can truly consider my idea. James Johnson Jr. 3/5/14

 I have some real concerns here. Where is this money coming from? Seems that in the past ohv funds that I pay, get raided to fund certain programs that are encouraged by anti ohv access groups. I am an american motorcycle association member and take this very seriously. If the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department wants to persue these patrols they should take money from their budget, not taking funds from somewhere else. How come the pacific crest trail and the sierra club never come under attack? I am expected to live and spend within my budget, why should public service agencies be any different? Furthermore the Mojave desert has more closed signs than open, the majority of the national forest in Los Angeles county is closed. For me the tax payer to fund a team of officers to ride with top of the line gear, motorcycles, in areas that are off limits to everyone else is ludicrous. I have three motorcycles that are legally equipped and registered. The west end of the antelope valley desperately needs some legal ohv areas to be opened. What would we rather our young people do? Let's focus on the real hardcore crime in the antelope valley. I Have yet to see an ohv incident in the av press crime blotter. However when I take my kids to the park, I have to deal with profanity, people smoking weed, making out etc. As a community off highway enthusiasts are honest hard working people that are just trying to stay sane, alcohol and drug free. We spend time every outing picking up trash. I agree that there are a few bad apples out there, but I can assure you that is the 1 percent. In closing, 800.00 allotment  each for safety gear? 138,192.12 total? These numbers are in the proposal. Sorry but not buying this deal. Erik Kott - 3/5/14

 I have reviewed the 2014 grant application for the LASD OHV enforcement team.  I totally agree with the request and hope it will be fully funded for another year.
 
I live on the far west side of Juniper Hills (5 miles south of Littlerock, CA) in a very rural area.  Motorcycle dirt bikes trespassing on private property have been a problem here for decades.  When the Palmdale LASD enforcement team began actively patrolling Juniper Hills in 2009 the illegal incursions dropped dramatically.  However, last year when the funding and patrols were cut, the number of illegal riders went right back up.  Of particular concern in my area is the Alimony Ridge trail, the Pollia jeep trail (1/2 miles southwest of 96th St. East and Cima Mesa road), and the west fork of the Brainard canyon trail.  I recently (March 2014) inspected all 3 of these trails and saw lots of fresh dirt bike tracks proving the problem has not gone away.  The OHV enforcement team is aware of these illegal riding areas but the incursions are random and it comes down to catching the violators at the right time and place. 
 
Another major concern to many of us Juniper Hills residents is the proposed Littlerock OHV park to be located south of Mt. Emma Road.  This park will be just 1-1/2 miles from my residence.  Any overflow from the park will likely funnel up Brainard canyon and right into my property.  The only way to combat this is with a strong OHV enforcement team.  Please continue the funding and this valuable service. John Parsons - 3/7/14

 I am a new homeowner in the community of Juniper Hills, which is about 10 miles south of Palmdale.  The property was purchased in a quest to occasionally escape the congestion and noise of Los Angeles….we love the peace and quiet that this off-the-beaten-track area offers.  At the same time, since I am often on my property alone, I would feel very uncomfortable in this rather remote area without knowing that there is some law enforcement presence to deter people who don’t belong there.  Please continue to fund the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Palmdale Station OHV enforcement team to keep trespassers at bay.  It is not hard to anticipate the problems that could occur if some law breakers are left to their own devices. Madeline Nunez - 3/11/14

 We are writing to support the grant funding for the Sheriff’s Station Off-Highway Vehicle team as we have been personally impacted by illegal off-roading.

Over the past several years we have had to contend with off-roaders riding illegally in the desert behind our home in the City of Lancaster. Someone built a very elaborate off-road course with jumps and trails covering a large area (perhaps 1-2 acres) which is on undeveloped private property.  We see motorcycle riders come in from neighborhoods all around ours, even as far away as Quartz Hill, to utilize this illegal off-road track which causes significant noise and a great deal of dust around our home.  These riders are trespassing on private property rather than using designated off-road areas in the Antelope Valley.

We have called the Sheriff Department on numerous occasions but unfortunately, and understandably, due to other more pressing matters they were only able to respond once and by the time they arrived three to four hours later, the riders had already left.  We also notified the City of Lancaster for assistance but that too was unsuccessful.  It has been a very frustrating and discouraging situation to have no resources available for us to pursue and stop this illegal activity.

We next contacted our attorney who in turn spoke to the owners of the property where the off-road track was built and made them aware of the problem.  They had no knowledge that this off-road track had been built on their property.  The owners hired the services of a grading company to tear down the jumps and level the surrounding area.  The owners also posted large no trespassing signs throughout the property but within a week these signs had been removed and placed on our property (this was just one of several harassing incidents we have experienced since we pursued removal of the off-road track).

We realize the Sheriff’s department has more serious cases to respond to however, we strongly believe there needs to be better resources available to residents/homeowners who are faced with these situations in order to stop illegal off-roading on private property and protected areas.

It has been several months since the property was graded; however, someone is now rebuilding the off-road track with jumps in the same location.  We do not believe that the property owners are aware that it is being rebuilt and we suspect that the motorcycle riders in and around our neighborhood are supporting it.

We believe this grant will help to enforce illegal off-roading and also provide riders with information on designated, legal areas to ride.  Therefore, we strongly support this grant to provide the Palmdale Sheriff Station with more tools and resources to combat this growing problem that has not only impacted us personally but our entire community.  We believe this grant is desperately needed to support the Antelope Valley and surrounding communities. Henry “Hank” and Trudy Marvin - 4/3/14

 I would like to comment on the OHMVR grant on behalf of the California Off-Road Vehicle Association.
LA county Sheriff's, the DRZ400 you are asking $8500 for, you can get one out the door for about $7000.  $80, $85, $90, $95 $100 per hour for law enforcement is an over the top expensive rate.  San Diego County Sheriff's ask for $72 per hour for overtime for sergeants.    While this department should get some grant money, it should not take more than what is fair. Ed Stovin - 4/6/14