N.C. Sheriffs Not Happy With New Pursuit Law

A new law aimed at stopping drivers from running from police will go into effect in about two weeks.


BURKE COUNTY, N.C. --

 

A new law aimed at stopping drivers from running from police will go into effect in about two weeks.

The new law will allow officers to seize the car they are chasing. While the law is meant to help officers, it may actually make their jobs more difficult.

The law is supposed to make people think twice before running from police but several sheriffs said they are concerned about the costs of implementing it.

High speed and dangerous police chases like the one in Catawba County earlier this year are targeted by the ?Run and You?re Done? law. Starting Dec. 1, the state can seize the vehicle of anyone convicted of felony speed to elude.

 

Those vehicles will then be sold at auction.

But at the Catawba County impound lot, Sheriff Coy Reid said says they do not have the space to store the vehicles or the money to pay wreckers to tow them there.

"You are going to have to make room for it. Right now it is a problem. As you can see in our impound lot it is over 80 percent full now," he said.

The law allows sheriff?s offices to recoup towing and storage fees, but only after a conviction and the vehicles have been sold.

Burke County Sheriff Steve Whisenant said he wants to know who foots the bill if the person is found not guilty.

Rep. Mark Hilton said in a phone interview that he is willing to take another look at the legislation.

What everyone agrees on is the importance of keeping chases like the one in Catawba County from ever starting. A deputy was injured after the other driver rammed his vehicle.

Law enforcement officers believe the new law could discourage chases but needs some work.

"It was a good thought to start with but it wasn't completely thought out," Reid said.

Sheriffs from the area have been meeting this week to discuss their options, and the sheriff's association is now involved.

 

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