Jenny Scarborough

No notable crimes occurred on Ocracoke during February or March.

In February "we didn't have a case at all," reported Sergeant Jason Daniels. No arrest warrants were served. In March, officers issued a citation for DWI to a visitor.

A few tickets have been written for license plate tags being out of date, for not having a drivers license, and for no insurance. If your tags are more than six months overdue, you will get a ticket, said Daniels. "Don't take offense, we're just trying to be fair," he said. More often than not, the DA will dismiss the case if they are updated prior to the court date.

By the weekend, most island eateries and watering holes will be open for business. Everything has been running smoothly as businesses re-open and the first trickle of visitors arrive. 

During the slow winter Ocracoke officers worked on their in service classes. Deputy Jaron Mutro spent part of the winter in Washington, NC, completing her training. Daniels was summoned to Swan Quarter and impaneled on juries in two civil cases. While policemen and women probably would be dismissed from the jury box in a criminal case, they are eligible to serve, he said. "We put our pants on the same way as everyone else before we go to work."

Not everyone goes to work on Ocracoke in the winter, and many residents draw unemployment. As of December 1, 2012, a new law for unlawfully collecting unemployment insurance benefits went into effect. Defrauding the Employment Security Commission of more than $400 is now a Class I felony, rather than a misdemeanor.

"If you're working side jobs, getting paid and still drawing a [unemployment] check, you're stealing from year round workers," said Daniels. Wrongfully collected benefits must be re-paid, and could result in a felony conviction. Convicted felons lose the right to vote.

Highway Patrol has not appeared on the island during the past few Easter weekends. "I haven't heard anything, but I always expect Troopers" on busy holiday weekends, said Daniels.

Troopers were on the island in early March to poke holes in Ocracoke School's lock down procedure. New school policy requires the doors to all classrooms to be locked. Everything went well, with a few recommended changes, said Daniels.

"You want an open learning environment, but you want safety first," he said. While "Nobody likes thinking about anything like that," officers frequently attend classes on how to approach school shootings and hostage situations. If shots are being fired, officers will engage. If it is a hostage situation, they will secure the area and wait for negotiators.

The Sheriff's Department continues to remind people not to park near stop signs, particularly the one on Bank Road.