State Highway Patrol says it won’t make stops just for stay-at-home order

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, April 1, 2020

By Shavonne Potts

SALISBURY — During Gov. Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home order, the N.C. Highway Patrol will not conduct traffic checkpoints to make sure motorists are abiding by the new restrictions as some law enforcement agencies have done.

“We will conduct traffic stops for hazardous, dangerous, serious motor vehicle violations,” said Sgt. J.G. Leonard.

Leonard, who is based in Rowan County’s Troop E, said troopers are trying to protect themselves as much as possible during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ll still be doing our job,” Leonard said.

On Monday, the town of East Spencer Police Department, conducted checkpoints to ensure residents were aware of and adhering to the governor’s order.

The governor’s order, which was effective Monday, means that people should stay at home and limit social interactions. The order allows people to conduct trips for essential needs like groceries, gas, places of worship and for jobs that are considered essential.

The order reminds people to remain at least 6 feet apart from others and bans gatherings of more than 10 people.

Leonard said troopers are wearing gloves and limiting close contact with motorists as much as possible.

“Unfortunately, when we interact with folks, it’s close contact. We try to keep as much distance as we can. It’s just one of the hazards of the job,” he said.

Leonard said the Highway Patrol has suspended trooper school and cadets have been assigned to district offices to perform administrative duties.

He said the highway patrol’s call volume has decreased, which he attributes to fewer people traveling on the roadways.