‘I’m scared for our citizens;’ Dayton police, commissioners discuss ways to crack down on hooning

Dayton City Commissioners are weighing in and working with police to develop new options to crack down on dangerous driving and hooning.

Overnight on Sunday, dozens of cars could be seen blocking the area of East Third and South Jefferson Streets while some did donuts in the intersection. Everyone working, living or playing downtown could hear and see the street takeover.

The driving maneuvers and the disregard for safety has police worried.

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“I’m scared for the people who may not be making the best life decisions, hanging out of that vehicle and driving that way,” Dayton Police Maj. Jason Hall said. “I’m scared for our citizens, I’m scare for my officers.”

Hall was asked to present city commissioners the problems with hooning, the catchall term for aggressive showcase driving. He was also asked to present potential solutions.

A six-part plan presented includes using aviation assets for the Ohio State Highway Patrol, approving overtime to break up known events, strict enforcement, roadway changes made by public works employees, proposed legislations changes and higher use of technology.

Police have proposed changing the reckless operation citation they can give drivers into a fourth degree misdemeanor. As it stands now, the citation doesn’t allow police to make an arrest or seize the vehicle. Making the change to a misdemeanor would allow them to arrest drivers and impound vehicles.

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“These event will not be tolerated and these are the next steps in how we will mitigate these issues in the area,” Commissioner Shenise Turner-Sloss said at a city commission meeting on Wednesday.

It’s not clear what kind of timeline commissioners are on for making changes to the ordinance and approving harsher penalties for street takeovers. We do know commissioners are looking for regional, even statewide, support exploring the possibility of changes to state laws that could increase dangerous driving penalties.