Q. Why do the members of the New Hanover Sheriff’s Office not follow the rules of the road when driving official cars — too fast, change lanes in a dangerous fashion, no headlight on when raining and poor visibility, do not use directional signal lights. These, of course, were cars traveling normally and not to an emergency.
A. New Hanover County sheriff’s deputies “are responsible for following all North Carolina laws, including those that apply to driving,” said Sgt. Jerry Brewer, Sheriff’s Office spokesman.
“At times, deputies are trying to get to a call for service that does not require blue lights and siren in a timely and safe manner,” Brewer said.
Standard Operating Procedures for deputies “are set up with North Carolina state laws with exceptions to emergency calls. There are exceptions under exigent circumstances that allow deputies to exceed (state) traffic laws,” Brewer said.
All deputies must complete Defensive Driver Safety Courses as part of their training, he said.
High-speed operation is permissible, Brewer said, “in compliance with SOP responding to emergency calls for service and apprehension of motor vehicle violators.”
Brewer takes exception to the reader’s contention that some deputies “change lanes in a dangerous fashion, (have) no headlight on when raining and poor visibility, (and) do not use directional signal lights” under normal driving conditions.
“All of our deputies are trained to operate the patrol vehicle in a safe and responsible manner. All of our patrol vehicles are equipped with daytime running lights so there would be no incidence of not utilizing headlights during hazardous conditions,” he said.
If a citizen observes what he or she considers unsafe driving by a New Hanover County sheriff’s deputy, Brewer recommends calling the Sheriff’s Office Patrol Division at (910) 798-4227.
Date posted: August 24, 2012
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