U.S. Department of the Interior
Bureau of Land Management
For Immediate Release: February 12, 2002
Contact: Stephen Razo 909-697-5217; Doran Sanchez, 909-697-5220
Dunes Law Breakers Will Face Full Extent of the Law
A substantial increase in law enforcement activity will be conducted at the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area (ISDRA) this President’s Day weekend. With an estimated 95,000 people expected at the Dunes, county, state and federal officials are stressing that breaking the law could mean jail time. Several large signs stating, “Break The Law – Go To Jail,” will be posted in the Dunes area along Highway 78 in both directions which officials hope will re-enforce the “Zero Tolerance” policy for the Dunes.
“The goal of the BLM is to provide a safe environment for recreational users of the Imperial Sand Dunes. With zero tolerance and assistance from other county, state, and federal agencies, we will aggressively pursue all violators to ensure public safety,” states Roger Bruckner,
BLM Special Agent-in-Charge.Utilizing checkpoints and barricades, the Competition Hill and Sand Drag areas will see a more visible patrol presence to better monitor items such as vehicle registration, open container laws and safety violations. Aerial assets from the Imperial County Sheriff’s Dept. and the California Highway Patrol will seek speeders and monitor suspicious activity day or night with aerial floodlights. Also, radar guns will be used to monitor vehicle activity in camping areas and near group concentrations.
Recent upgrades to existing communications infrastructure at the Dunes has greatly increased radio coverage throughout the Dunes. The increased coverage will be further supported by a California Department of Forestry (CDF) mobile command center. The mobile command center will also support ground-to-ground and ground-to-air communications capabilities and also allow law enforcement officials real-time ability in running auto registrations and checking for prior arrests and convictions. Over 150 law enforcement personnel from Imperial County, California Highway Patrol, National Park Service Special Event Team, U.S. Forest Service, the California Department of State Parks and Recreation, California Department of Forestry, California State Bureau of Narcotics, U.S. Border Patrol, and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will be on duty to provide a significant increase in presence and capabilities. These agencies will work with the BLM through an inter-agency command and control system which will provide immediate capabilities to handle incidents quickly, providing an effective security net throughout the Dunes. Officials state that fire engine and emergency medical services support will also be increased to handle the large crowd.
Dunes Law Breakers
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“There will be a significant increase in law enforcement at the Imperial Sand Dunes during President=s Day weekend,” states Greg Thomsen, U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) El Centro Field Office Manager. “The Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area rules, the California Off Highway Vehicle regulations and other applicable state and federal laws will be strictly enforced. Major infractions of rules or laws could land you in a U.S. Border Patrol bus headed for jail,” Thomsen added. “The Imperial Dunes is one of the most heavily visited off-highway vehicle (OHV) recreation areas in the country. However, an increasing number of law breakers have threatened the safety of visitors at the Dunes during the past two years. American Sand Association (ASA) President, Jerry Seaver, encourages the off-road community to “please remember that it is your responsibility to know the law. Let=s focus on safety and be responsible.”