Police Blotter 7/9/2012

Jenny Scarborough

Welcome to July.

The Ocracoke Sheriff's Department continues to strictly enforce open container laws, DWI, passing on the right, and properly securing children in golf carts and vehicles. 

"Those are the main tickets we write," said Sergeant Jason Daniels. 

Officers are investigating two separate sexual assault cases.  Charges have been brought and a court date set for one.  The other case remains under investigation.

Daniels reminds us that everyone is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Highway Patrol officers were on Ocracoke during the week of July 4th.  Deputies assisted with a brief 30 to 40 minute license checkpoint, where two citations were issued for possession of marijuana and one arrest was made for DWI. 

There is an ongoing investigation into tampering with a water meter.

Officers visited a private residence hosting a party which neighbors complained was too loud. 

At 2:15 a.m. on July 5, an Ocracoke officer observed a young man relieving himself in the parking lot of a local watering hole on Highway 12.  He was tapped on the shoulder and asked to step over to the patrol car.  It is standard procedure to pat down anyone before they sit down in the back of a police vehicle, said Daniels. 

The individual decided to run, and was pursued on foot down Highway 12.  The officer giving chase deployed a taser, which did not make contact with the subject.  "The chase would have ended right there," said Daniels.

Instead the youth ducked into the woods near the site of the future Fire Department, and Ocracoke's canine handler was called to assist, quickly locating the man.  The dog was harnessed and leashed.  Contrary to rumor, it did not bite or attack the vacationer, said Daniels. 

"Don't run.  You always make it worse.  You're drunk.  We're not," said Daniels, who explained that chases put officers at risk for injury, and they will always ask the DA to pursue the maximum penalty when subjects run. 

This was a series of terrible decisions by the young NC resident, said Daniels.  "All he was going to get was a ticket and sent up the road."  In the end he was handcuffed, arrested, charged with Indecent Exposure, Resisting, Delaying and Obstructing Arrest, and Underage Drinking. 

Since 2004, Hyde County has employed 4 full time officers on Ocracoke.  This man power is needed during the summer, explained Daniels.  In the off season, deputies focus on training and continued education in addition to their regular duties. 

Before a fourth position was funded, the officers were either on duty or on call, and had very little true time off that enabled them to leave the island.  The on call time was unpaid, and overtime was frequent.

"We don't want to lose positions on Ocracoke," said Daniels, who noted that staff turnover was high, and it is always more expensive to train rather than to retain good officers.  "It was a bad work environment.  We were always on call, couldn't leave the island, and the stress meant our patience was thinner," said Daniels.

The four officers work a DuPont schedule that allows them to come to work fresh.  Daniels emphasized that the Sheriff's Department is "here to make Ocracoke safer," and are available to assist 24/7.


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