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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Wilmington Police Department is using some unique methods this week to catch drivers who may be breaking the law. Today officers disguised themselves as roadside maintenance workers, including an officer on a tractor armed with a laser-radar.

Police say Randall Parkway between Kerr and Covil is a common area for speeders. They hope traffic operations like the one held Tuesday will get the message across that drivers should slow down.

“The goal here is to slow people down, but what we’re doing mostly is speed enforcement,” Sgt. Mike Donelson said.

Armed with a tractor and a radar gun this group of Wilmington Police officers are on the hunt for drivers with a lead foot by disguising an officer as a roadside worker to clock drivers at the speed they really drive.

“Everyone slows down when they see a police car, and we appreciate that, but if there is no police presence, people tend to speed back up,” Donelson said. “I think this way if you have the idea that the police may be out there and you can’t see them, if that’s what it takes to get motorist to slow down, then that’s what we’ll do.”

Not long after everyone was in position, officers had their first batch of speeders. We rode along with Ofc. Mark Anderson. The driver of one SUV was caught going ten miles faster than the posted 35 mph speed limit.

The drivers Anderson pulled over and cited did not get too mad about the situation. Some acknowledged that they were going a little fast.

Police say the key is to promote safe driving and protect those working along or driving on our roads.

“It’s almost cliché to say speed kills, but it really does,” Donelson said. “The faster you go the more violent that crash is going to be.”

One driver ticketed had a smile on her face. She said she will now be cautious about her speed.

In all, officers issued 27 citations during the morning traffic operation. Twenty-two were for speeding, one for expired registration, one for no seat belt and three drivers received written warnings.

WPD will conduct similar traffic operations around town all this week.

Comment on this Story

  • Guest

    I understand the speed limit is 35, not sure why…but it is. On the whole, I very seldom see anyone that seems to be going overly fast. What I find interesting…this stretch of road does not have a lot of pedestrians/homes, but a great deal of effort is spent catching speeders (connecting between two 45 mph roads). On the other hand, I’ve called frequently about speeders in my neighborhood (which is near a school where a LOT of kids/parents walk to get there)…but to no avail!

  • John Pittman

    Your Mixing the wrong arguments to make a point!
    your right, the Constitution States that we have certain rights and freedoms. Yes you do have the right to do what ever you wish as long as you do not harm others and as long as you do not impede on the rights of others. Now laws are made to protect the rights of the individual. These laws are made so that a professional witness can determine fault. as in the case of a stop light. When an accident occurs at a stop light the Professional Witness (cop) writes up the report that subject A, failed to stop at posted stop sign resulting in the damage or harm to subject B. These laws were never supposed to have been used to generate cash revenue for the government!
    Another example:
    The 4th Amendment states..
    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
    Now what this means is that at no time should you be stopped, questioned, or search without probable cause. Well you know as i do that in Wilmington we have DUI checkpoints. At these checkpoints cops will block the road, set up cones and flares stop about 600 too 700 cars,ask questions to drivers and in some cases passengers with no reason to believe anyone has committed a crime. In this case the laws in New Hanover county to have and promote these checkpoints are unconstitutional and are themselves illegal.
    We as Americans need to wake up! our nation is becoming a Police State.

    You must remember this if nothing else, In a free country, crime should only be when someone has caused harm or damage to anther. Pay close attention to the words HAS CAUSED, not may cause! And their must always be a victim and Corpus delicti (body of crime). Cops writing tickets with no victim and no damages in itself is a crime.

    You stated “We have freedoms. We have rights. We have privileges. We have laws. Break the laws and face the consequences of possibly losing your freedoms, rights and privileges.” Did you know that at one time driving a car was a right? then laws were introduced and made it a privilege. Can you not see that our very laws if not applied properly are the very tools used to take our freedoms away?

    Go back and read your Constitution carefully and you will see that you do indeed have the right to do anything you like so long as you do not harm or infringe on the rights of others, and when you do your responsible for your actions.

    As a free person, you have the right to put anything into your body, you have the right to say anything you wish, you have the right to come and go as you please as fast as you like and as far as you wish. you have the right to keep what you make and to protect yourself as needed. Any law made that gets in the way of this is not lawful.

    If there is no victim there is no crime!!

  • SurfCityTom

    have forgotten to take your prescribed pharmacuticals that morning.

    I bet most folks were like me and never really got your point — if there was one.

  • Rich

    WOW! I heard it all. Whats next are we going to see them jumping out of the manholes. I guess we can be grateful that they are not driving the tractor speeding more money.

  • virgogirl

    Dialing your phone is the same as texting. So…. texting and driving / dialing and driving ….. equally as dangerous.

  • Guest666

    Your line of reasoning suggests that no one get a speeding ticket unless your speed caused an accident or no DUI arrest unless you kill somebody……glad you’re not in charge of lawmaking.

  • Mikey

    You fell for my little cheese trap, Jerry Mouse! And you more than “likey” will every time. Why did you assume that taxpayers should foot the bill for people who hurt themselves? Your statist mentality takes that as a given. We should eliminate “save you from yourself” laws, as well as confiscation laws that make one man pay for another’s actions. I never advocated paying some non-seatbelt wearing moron’s bills… YOU DID! I’m for freedom and responsibility. You more than “likey” shouldn’t have called me stupid. “Your” stupid. (It’s “you’re.”)

  • John Pittman

    While it is true that the use of cell phones on the road are distracting, so is a seat belt constantly rubbing across your chest, a radio turned on, other people in the car, a dirty windshield, traffic on the road, advertisements and bill boards, the thousands of signs all over the place and so on. People have lost focus, we must be held accountable and responsible for what we do! What I mean by this is that we cannot be held responsible for what we have not done yet! While it is true that a cell phones could be dangerous while driving, we must not make new laws making free people responsible for what “might” happen. If we keep making laws to protect us, we soon have no rights at all. “People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither” Ben Franklin. So should the cops stop us for dirty windows? Should cops stop you if they see passengers talking to you while your driving? Should cops stop you for reading stop signs or bumper stickers while driving? If you use logic you will see that the only time that law can come into place is if you have already caused harm to someone or damage. We know in reality that is not the case with all the victimless crimes that are enforced but that is a topic for another discussion. We need to stop asking our government to make rules for us when we know all to well that it will only be used against us to take our money or freedoms and all because of what some feel that a few might do. If someone gets into an accident then charge them with the accident, not for what MIGHT cause an accident! Now if your going to complain about distractions, lets talk about the use of computers while driving. In the past week I drove around and saw our public servants driving police cars swerving all over the road while they were using laptops and typing in plates to check for infractions in the attempt to generate money for our local government while they are driving. While it is true, I have not heard of a cop reading the computer and causing an accident, not to say it has not happen, but it could right? Again, lets stick to what is and not what might!

  • Guest1234

    No law says you cant talk on the phone it says no texting and driving

  • virgogirl

    I sure hope they pull & ticket everyone that is on the phone as well!! Just watch the other drivers in town and at least 50% of every driver is on the phone while cruising down the road!


    That is the root of most of our traffic problems. There used to be signs posted along the medians stating Slower Traffic Keep Right, but I never see them anymore. Drive down any major road and the main frustration with drivers is slow driving in the left hand lane. Why don’t the officer’s give them a ticket??? I am behind slow drivers in the left hand lane everyday on Carolina Beach Road, Shipyard Boulevard, Eastwood Road, College Road… the list goes on and on and on. I don’t want to speed anywhere, I simply want to go the speed limit and get to where I am going without being stuck behind some old man that should not even be allowed to drive during peak hours. You are right, if you go the speed limit, you don’t get stopped by all of the traffic lights, only a couple. When will people figure this out????

  • anne

    Cry me a river! All you whiners complaining about the ways this is being handled. Grow up. If you choose to speed and get caught, tough! Speed limits are set for a reason and are not there to suggest what you should be doing – they are telling you what you should be doing. And for the one complaining about the slow drivers, so what? As long as they are not creating a hazard, other than being in your way, leave them alone. Just because YOU think you are so important and that the destination YOU are trying to get to is that important, doesn’t make it so! Leave home a little earlier and hopefully none of us will be in your way.

    As far as what the officers are doing, good for you!!!!!!! I don’t live in Wilmington and only go there maybe 6 or 7 times a year – only when I have to, but I see enough stupid driving to last me a year. I can’t believe how many I have seen run red lights or speed right by – slow down and enjoy life a bit. The next life you may save might be yours or mine!

  • Guest543

    The NHCSO needs to do this on all county roads outside the city to slow speeders, especially on major roads.

  • Stupid is

    It is your right to not wear your seat belt? You are probably the same fool who says it is your right to not have insurance. Let the people working foot the increased hospital bills of people involved in crashes, without insurance, that weren’t wearing their safety straps.

  • SurfCityTom

    apply the same principles to DWI enforcement and maybe green card verification?

  • As always, those who whine the loudest are most likely to be the offenders. Obey the laws and have no worries. Do the crime, don’t do the whine. If you disagree with the law, whatever it may be, then fight to change the law; don’t cry online about it. EVERYONE these days believes they have a Constitutional right to do absolutely anything. WRONG! We have freedoms. We have rights. We have privileges. We have laws. Break the laws and face the consequences of possibly losing your freedoms, rights and privileges. GO POLICE! Keep our roads as safe as possible; we’re depending on you.

  • Guest2727722

    but when stupid people cost common sense people money thats not right….ie: you get in an accident and mame yourself for the rest of your life then we all pay for it in increased insurance, disability etc…..the government is basically protecting you from yourself…..stupid ! Your lucky if you die, more then likey as well someone will be sued…..which will again cost us money

  • PopeyeVFD

    Its not because there is a park, or a school or that traffic is crazy in that area, Its not because the city needs any cash flow, Hell look at your tax bill, It is so everyone that goes down that stretch of road can see the IRS building and know where all there freaking money is being spent, AND if you get a ticket on this stretch remember it could be worse, The IRS could come out with the AUDIT forms for you to fill out, SLOW DOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Guest11221

    Hooked on phonics?? After reading this, I think not! Oh my god, are you serious with this spelling and grammar or are you just trying to be funny?

  • Guest1017

    I agree with everyone about that section of road being too slow. As far as everyone making comments about Creekwood and other “drug known” places, cops are scared togetout of their cars to do anything. They know things are going on,they are just too chickn to do anything about it. Come on Wilmington is in the midst of an all out Gang War. WPD need to get their priorities straight. Aren’t yall getting enough money out of all the people on probation for stupid stuff? By the way, While yall were playing farmer John, where was the traffic assistance while a traffic light was out at Kerr and MLK during lunchtime today? Real safe.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    I don’t have to. Here’s something I learned a long time ago:

    No speeding = no tickets.

  • BetterThanYouNanaBooBoo

    do you practice? Did you take driver’s education under retired Kamikaze pilots who never had the guts to take the plunge? How do you even get pulled over while driving in a city with high traffic and tons of stop lights? There isn’t time or room to do much to catch the eye of a gung ho police officer. I wear my seat belt but by no means drive below the speed limit and have never had a ticket in over 20 years of driving. I’m not a perfect driver but seem to avoid meeting police officers in an official capacity. Those of you who are the frequent recipients of policing services, you aren’t the victims of gestapo police or any conspiracy, you’re just self-absorbed bad drivers. WPD needs to crack down and crack down hard.

    Driving in Wilmington was a pleasure in the 80s but increasingly became a contact sport during the 90s. By the 2000s, I hated being the first car at a stop light as the narcissist behind me would lay on his/her horn the instant the light turned green – seemingly hoping to be broadsided by his/her fellow narcissists who would be guaranteed to run the now red lights on my left and right. Most of these ego-maniacal dangers to society are in a hurry to get nowhere. Next time you see an aggressive driver, observe carefully where they’re headed. If they pull into the NHC Medical Center ER entrance, well, give ’em the benefit of the doubt. But it’ll usually be a bowling alley or sports bar – really urgent stuff like that. Burn ’em up WPD.

  • Guestsnc

    If you break the law then pay the consequences. Myself included (and I have been caught by that same sting)! So-called “law-abiding citizens” (some of them)are on this page protesting the police doing their job! The snide comments about Creekwood are likewise very revealing. If the police really did their job to the fullest extent, they’d follow the heroin, cocaine, and oxycontin pills to Forest Hills, Wrightsville Beach, Landfall, etc. Also, they’d follow the drugs into the attorney offices, and doctor suites.

    Always easy to blame others … harder to look at yourself … it’s kinda human nature!


    In America, you should be allowed to be a fool (or a “fool” as you call them), as long as you are not hurting anyone else in the process. Not wearing your seatbelt is your right. And you shouldn’t have to pay the government a fine if you choose not to. Not wearing a seatbelt is also stupid, but stupid people have a right to live stupidly, and a right to die stupidly. The law has no right to save them from themselves or confiscate their money.

    Me for President.

  • Guest7969

    you DO realize that MOST of our PD cars have radar installed and ON…so by the time you see them and place your dainty foot on the brake…they’ve already gotten you…

    The reason that stretch of road is 35 is because of the park…otherwise it would be set higher.

  • Dibsy Doo

    1. Drivers on Randall don’t speed. Authorities in charge of speed limits on Randall set the number too low. You could safely drive 55 everytime on that road and not hurt anyone. (The current limit there is 35.)

    2. If the authorities were worried about speeds there being unsafe, that goofus-doofus with a radar gun pretending to be Old MacDonald would be positioned lower to the ground and be wearing a crash-helmet for fear of his own safety being compromised by dangerous “speeders.”

    3. The slow drivers in New Hanover county that are too timid to properly operate their own cars are the majority of the danger.

    4. I am pretty cool.

  • Guest189189

    These guys and gals work in the TRAFFIC UNIT, so their primary job in vehicle enforcement issues. If you have drug problems their are narcotic officers(Vice) primary job is to deal with the drug problems in our city. Thank You PD traffic officers for your creative ideas, and hope to see more in the future. I also hope they keep the unmarked police cars, it keeps people thinking. It’s a very common thing to see speeders flying by traffic and then they see a marked police car so they slow down for just a second or two and then take off once that police is out of view.But with the unmarked vehicles out people have no idea what the police are even driving, and the speeders, drunks, and non seat belt wearing “Fools” can be caught.

  • Brian

    In my opinion, the main reasons that people drive faster than the posted speed limit in Wilmington are first, that the speed limits are frequently set too low, and second, that the traffic light timing is such that if one drives the speed limit they will be forced to stop at every traffic light that they encounter.

    Traffic ‘accidents’, while made worse with increasing speed, are not actually caused by higher speeds as the ‘authorities’ would have us believe. Crashes are caused mainly by drivers not paying attention to what they’re doing and what’s going on around them. Enough with the speed enforcement, let’s tackle the real problem – texting / eating / doing hair and makeup / reading the newspaper while driving, etc.

  • Guest 4545

    It would appear that WPD can’t do much about downtown Wilmington at night, so they are going to make their presence known sitting on tractors disguised as maintenance workers. Maybe they should disguise themselves as “drunks” downtown on weekend nights. A “zero tolerance” downtown might work wonders but if the cops are too tired from sitting out in the hot sun on a tractor all day how can they be expected to handle a real problem.
    The tourism board could advertise all over the region: “Come to the Port City; get a speeding ticket and mugged all on the same day.” A “priceless” vacation.

  • Guest454664

    It’s the end of the month..and they will be doing this all week..Give me a break.. it’s the only time you see cops pulling people the end of the month AND where are they for the idiots that are driving 10 below the speed limit in the left lane…

    Is there not a law “SLOWER TRAFFIC KEEP RIGHT”????

  • William

    So does the tractor pull people over after they clock the speeders cause I thought the one that clocks them had to issue the ticket ?

  • JenniR

    Poor whiny speeders!!! Blatantly breaking the law and mad when you get caught. I don’t ever hear a bunch of drunk driving offenders whining after a roadblock. If it was up to me, you should also get child endangerment if there is a child in the car when you are speeding. Laws are there to protect everyone, not for everyone to break.

    Driving is a privaledge, not a right.

  • Guest cant drive 55

    Fact is most drivers who get cought speeding pay the ticket !! Most people in creekwood and other projects that get caught selling drugs , killing, raping, etc get a court appointed attorney and we the citzen pay for it !! sooo lesson is its cheaper to pay the speeding ticket than to let them arrest real criminals. However I do agree with enforcing the law , no matter what law, its just not fair for a honest hard working person, they get it coming and going, and WPD knows this , Make money is to ticket people who will pay, not the ones that will not !!! That my friend is FACT. Guess we better slow down huh ??

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