La Loche RCMP believe police vehicle tires slashed in 'retaliation' to ATV crackdown

La Loche RCMP believe police vehicle tires slashed in 'retaliation' to ATV crackdown

Saskatchewan RCMP say they believe the slashed tires on one of their vehicles in La Loche may be retaliation for a crackdown on ATV use there.

Since the start of April, police in the northern Saskatchewan village of La Loche have stopped several ATVs using the roadways, according to a news release issued by RCMP Tuesday.

Leaders and residents of La Loche have raised concerns about the unsafe operation of ATVs in the community, RCMP said.

According to the All Terrain Vehicles Act, ATVs are not allowed to be operated on local streets, roads or highways. But RCMP said in their release that in several instances when they tried to stop riders, the people on the ATVs refused to stop.

They also said several of the drivers were seen operating their ATVs in "a dangerous and erratic manner," and posed a threat to other motorists and to pedestrians.

Last weekend, RCMP said they conducted "covert surveillance" using unmarked police vehicles, and with assistance from community members in La Loche and the Clearwater River Dene Nation. Six ATVs were seized, police said.

"These [ATVs] had been seen 'fleeing' from police, driving in an erratic and dangerous manner," the news release read.

RCMP said the people who were driving the ATVs were wearing no safety equipment, but were wearing balaclavas or bandanas that hid their identity.

RCMP are now working to identify those riders.

The weekend operation appears to have resulted in "retaliation," the RCMP allege.

On Tuesday, the tires of a  patrol car parked outside an on-call officer's home were slashed.

"It is believed to be associated [with the crackdown,] or should I say 'retaliation' from the events over the weekend," the news release said.

Police are also now investigating the tire slashing.

Anyone with information is asked to contact La Loche RCMP at (306) 822-2010 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).