Local News

Lawmakers Look at Problems with Unmarked Cars

Posted June 2, 1998

— It's late at night, and you're pulled over by a car with flashing blue lights. How do you know if the person stopping you is really an officer of the law?

A controversial new bill about that issue making its way though the state legislature.

Almost all the cars used by the North Carolina Highway Patrol are marked, but a few are not. Troopers say they need such cars in certain situations, but lawmakers who are pushing a new bill say there should be some guidelines as to when unmarked cars are used.

The proposed law would prohibit officers in unmarked cars from stopping drivers at night unless officers suspect intoxication or think the driver might be a felony suspect.

"The greater number of vehicles in the state, as I understand it, are marked vehicles," said Representative Steve Wood (R, Guilford County). "So I don't think it will impair the law enforcement officer at all, and I hope they'll be supportive of this, and the department of transportation and the highway patrol."

The bill is making its way through the House committees, while a similar one is being considered in the Senate.

The highway patrol has issued no formal statement about its views on the proposed bill.

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