Speeders beware – the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department is using money from its Federal Forfeiture Fund to create a new special traffic unit.
The new team for policing the local roads is called the “Special Operations Division Traffic Enforcement Team,” and, while the department has been very tight-lipped about the new division, it will unquestionably be one more reason for Guilford County drivers to obey the speed limits and other traffic laws.
When the Rhino Times asked Guilford County Sheriff Danny Rogers about the program after a Board of Commissioners meeting, he said, “No comment” – and other inquiries haven’t been very fruitful either.
Given that not a lot about the unit is known yet, some county officials have begun light-heartedly referring to the new team as “the Fast and Furious unit” after the wildly popular “Fast and Furious” movie franchise known for its fantastic auto stunts.
County records show that the Sheriff’s Department is purchasing three Dodge Durango pursuit models for use by the newly formed team. Two of those vehicles are for patrol officers and one is for a supervisor.
According to records from Guilford County, the estimated cost of each Durango is just over $36,000 and the cost to provide each vehicle with law enforcement equipment is another $21,000. The total cost for the program so far is $171,600. It’s not clear whether additional officers and vehicles will be added to the unit in the future.
The Durango’s are being purchased from Performance Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Clinton, NC.
Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Alan Branson said that, while traffic enforcement is important, he hopes the Sheriff’s Department keeps its eye on preventing, responding to and solving major crimes. He said he doesn’t want the department to get too mired down with stopping little old ladies whose auto registration has expired.
Money for the endeavor is coming out of the department’s fund made up of cash confiscated from criminals and money raised from the sale of their property. Federal forfeiture laws allow the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department and other law enforcement agencies to keep a share of the money and property that they confiscate from those who acquired it through criminal activity or used it in carrying out illegal activity.
Usually, that means the department takes in cash or automobiles from drug dealers through that program – however, local law enforcement agencies can also end up with houses or other property that may be sold at auction or used by the department for law enforcement purposes.
The Sheriff’s Department’s Federal Forfeiture Fund had about $780,000 before this expenditure.
Captain J.P. Worrell (GCSD retired) will be spinning in his grave. ” If you want to write tickets, you should have joined the Highway Patrol”. I have to smile when I think back on how the Department used to be run.
It’s so easy for law enforcement to harass citizens – the softest target of all – for simply driving “ten over”, or whatever. They got lots of free favorable publicity, plenty of revenue, and don’t have to deal with actual criminals.
It’s a pathetic misallocation of resources and betrays a set of misplaced priorities.
I’m not a fan of the new Sheriff, but a dedicated traffic unit for an urbanized county like Guilford makes sense. So much sense; it was probably Parr’s idea.
Timothy McVeigh, Warren Jeffs, et al. were caught as a result of being stopped for a registration violation. Don’t want to be pulled over?, don’t violate the law.