Who Invited The Troopers?

Jenny Scarborough

A duo of Highway Patrolmen from Tyrell County appear to have set up shop for OISFT.

Head judge Woody Billings spent part of his morning reminding OISFT fishermen and women to buckle up when they leave the beach. Open containers, as has been the case for quite some time, are also a no-no.

"As short as this island is, I can't figure out why people have to go half a mile with an open beer," marveled Sergeant Beau Daniel. He also found it "kind of shocking" that three drivers were arrested for DWI "after working maybe six hours, and I'm sure we didn't get the only three."

"We planned to come in the beginning of May, and it just happened to be the fishing tournament," said Daniel.

One fishermen said it looked more like "harassment" to him, and that the troopers' visit seemed designed to drive visitors away from Ocracoke. This page has a link where the public can submit comments to NC Highway Patrol.

17 citations have been written by Highway Patrol since they arrived on the island Wednesday afternoon, and three arrests made for DWI. Daniel said he and Trooper Moore made about 40 or 50 stops, and wrote roughly the same number of warning tickets as citations.

Highway Patrol can come and go as they please, and are not requested by the Hyde Sheriff's Department, said Sergeant Jason Daniels, head of the Ocracoke Department. "We work the same every day, no matter what."

Highway Patrol and Sheriff's Departments are on the same law enforcement team. "Our goals are the same, but they're focused on highways," said Daniels.

Troopers will always pull you over if they see you unbelted, said Daniel. A few locals who were stopped for seat belt violations were given warnings, though Patrolman Daniel cautioned "there are probably not going to be many more warnings for seat belts."

"I would tell the people of Ocracoke, Put your seat belt on. If you have a few beers, just like any other time, don't drive," said Daniels.

Local officers help with license checks in order to speed the process up for everybody, said Daniels. "We back them up when they're here."

A highway stop Thursday evening near the airport resulted in one seat belt violation, one for excessive window tint, two open container violations, one for driving with a revoked license, and one for driving without a license. The license check also resulted in an arrest for DWI.

A number of local families, returning from a baseball game on Hatteras, were delayed by the stop.

Troopers may not schedule another road stop before leaving on Saturday or Sunday morning, said Daniel. "We seemed to be more productive riding, so we may just ride all night."

The troopers are driving a marked patrol car and an unmarked taupe dodge charger. After hearing a complaint, Sergeant Daniel said his team was more aware of the need to take it down a notch in the village.

"We're used to working on US highways, and we got to turn around quick," he said.

Highway Patrol is "trying to save lives and property," said Daniel, who hopes their presence on the island will remind people to be more aware and alert, and to take care of expired tags.

The duo of troopers will also visit the school to check for safety breaches, and "just to get a view of the school," should they have to respond to any incidences there, said Daniel.


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