It’s not just local police and troopers doing traffic enforcement in Mecklenburg County

Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office deputies
Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office deputies(Source: WBTV-Coleen Harry)
Published: Dec. 31, 2018 at 6:53 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Drivers in Mecklenburg County with a need to speed know to keep an eye out for troopers on state roads or police in local communities. But, did you know Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s deputies can pull you over for traffic violations?

“We advise them we can do it and we do have a jurisdiction authority because we are the highest power in the county,” said Deputy Buford Daniels, Jr. “Anywhere inside Mecklenburg County – the city streets, neighborhoods, that’s anywhere inside the county.”

The Sheriff’s Office says any deputy can stop a driver for violating traffic laws but six years ago the Sheriff’s Office began sending deputies for training in radar and lidar.

Now, the county has 12 deputies who are certified in radar and lidar.

According to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office, deputies, on average:

- do about 9,000 traffic stops a year.

- give out about 800 written or verbal warnings.

- write an average of 900 citations for speeding.

“We don’t necessarily have a traffic enforcement unit – that’s not our primary function but we still have the ability that we can enforce traffic stops and especially if we see speeders and we see aggressive drivers - then that’s part of our job is to pull them over,” said Corporal Carl Pettis, Jr. “We probably get a complaint from a citizen or a motorist – maybe a neighborhood. It could be a highway where we feel the need that we need to do some type of traffic enforcement.

Deputies say drivers tend to be surprised when they realize it’s a Sheriff deputy pulling them over.

“A lot of people don’t realize that we can enforce traffic” said Corporal Pettis.

Why are deputies doing traffic stops if local police and troopers are doing it?

“We’re actually a law enforcement agency also. So the sheriff can house anything civil, criminal and also dealing with traffic,” said Deputy Daniels. “The more enforcement you have the better it is because you know we want to avoid high crash and high fatalities so we work along with Highway Patrol and Charlotte Mecklenburg.”

“You have a lot of aggressive drivers now. A lot of people have no regard for the actual speed limits. We pull people an average of 20-to-30 miles over the posted speed limits,” said Corporal Pettis. “We run several campaigns on highways. We run several campaigns with school zones. We’ve done campaigns in construction zones.”

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