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ONLY ON 3: Driver says Carolina Beach cop texting and driving, department says he did nothing wrong

READ MORE: ONLY ON 3: Driver says Carolina Beach cop texting and driving, department says he did nothing wrong
cbtexting1.jpg

CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) -- If a police officer catches you texting and driving, you could be in trouble. But what if it's the other way around.

A man driving in Carolina Beach yesterday says he caught a police officer using his phone while driving.

It's the picture that's raising eyebrows at Carolina Beach. The photo shows Ofc. Elliott Bass operating his phone Sunday afternoon while driving.

A witness, who did not want to be identified for fear of retribution by police, says it went on for a couple miles.

"He texted pretty much from the intersection at Dow Road to the first 55 mph speed limit sign on Carolina Beach Road, when we snapped the photo and then moved on past him," the man said.

Carolina Beach Police Lt. Anthony Marcucilli says state law lets an officer text and drive if he is performing his official duties. But Marcucilli says text logs from Bass's phone show the officer was not texting at the time.

Bass says he was using a weather app on his smartphone to check out the incoming storm.

Regardless of what Ofc. Bass was doing on his phone, the people of Carolina Beach did not like what they saw.

"Why is he allowed to do it if I'm not allowed to do it?" vacationer Marc Whitford asked when he saw the photo.

"People get killed that way," C.J. Stout said. "It's careless driving."

"I see more people swerving as they're texting more than drunk drivers," visitor Jack Newton said.

Carolina Beach police say they agree that it is a safety issue, and that it has been addressed, but in a statement, the department maintained bass did nothing illegal.

"It's not a good example of what we're trying to teach the kids not to do, and it's very dangerous," Carolina Beach resident Rachel Cavenaugh said.

The man who was driving next to Ofc. Bass says he had his eight-year-old daughter take the photo after she said something about the policeman not being safe.

Statement from CBPD Lt. Anthony Marcucilli:

In a response to a complaint about an officer using his cell phone to text while driving a marked police vehicle the following facts were revealed after my investigation.

On July 2, 2012 at 9:48 I spoke with the officer in question. Officer Bass confirmed on Sunday July 1, 2012 at approximately 5:40 p.m. he was driving vehicle number 81. I asked him the direct question, “Were you texting on your phone while driving?” he responded “no I wasn’t.” Officer Bass stated he noticed the clouds to the north of him were becoming dark so he used his personal cell phone to check the local weather forecast.

Officer Bass offered to print out a copy of his cell phone usage details. I reviewed his usage for text messages and determined that he did not receive or send any text messages within one hour from the time in question.

I counseled Officer Bass about the perception of the public and why it may looks improper to use your cell phone to check the weather while he is driving.

In conclusion I find no fault in Officer Bass’s actions. Officer Bass is assigned to Freeman Park as a Carolina Beach Police Officer and one of his duties is to check the weather conditions to ensure the safety of the public. As we discussed this is allowed by NC general statute 20-137.4A(b)(2).

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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JUST WATCH

I challenge ALL of you to actually watch ALL police officers, whether driving, parked, etc.... They are ALL on their phones!!! Who could they possibly be talking to??? I have never seen so many police officers on the phones in their cars. Just think how much they could get done if they left their phones at the PD - I mean they all have computers and radios - FYI: The Lt. makes regular stops during the duty day to the bank for his personal banking needs at Bank of America and collecting rent from his low-income tenants. Just watch him for a week...

Seat belt?

Is it just me, or does it appear as though he is not wearing a seat belt either?

Same Ole

Whats good for the goose is not good for the gander. As usual with cops, double standards. You get a citation and they just brag about it to their buddies. Just like the UNC-W officer who came to work under the influence of alcohol and was later promoted. Double standard, you come to work under the influence and firing is not far away. This community is full of examples of cops who break the law and nothing happens. We need a citizen advisory board who have the authority to discipline cops who stray outside of the agency itself. You cannot trust cops to punish their own. They speed, drive under the influence, steal, use their authority as a bully and its need to stop. I am retired Law Enforcement and I know this to be fact. You have to have an outside citizen group of non Law Enforcement who has the authority to discipline cops after giving due process.

Wow...

You must have had some run ins with the police.....you just bitter..it's ok, maybe someday you'll be a use to society....

Truth Seeking

Have you ever been a cop?

Watching Cops on tv does not qualify you or anyone else to make any kind of assumption or decision on what police officers do and do not do.

Be thankful they are there. Be thankful they are protection you from yourself.

My first post on this did not make it, because I guess Pickey thought I was picking on him.

Double standards!!!!

I get why someone would be mad about that cause if it was the other way around text or no text you would have a nice ticket in your hand!!! No matter what, weather you are a cop or a citizen if you need to check you phone anything other than to call someone you should pull over!! Checking an app takes about as much time to look at as it does to send a text both are not safe and he is lucky that he didnt hurt anyone!!

If the excuse is that the officer was checking the weather ...

... because he was assigned to Freeman Park, why was he driving in the opposite direction when the incident occurred?

Wrong is wrong

The law states no texting while driving so If I text and drive and kill some one I am going to jail if a cop does it will he get promoted WHATS WRONG WITH THAT how is he watching the streets guess he can't he is to busy texting and driving. Do the teach how to text and drive in BLET, I don't think so. He should do what everyone else does pull over then text. How can he enforce the law and break it. I still have not figured who stayed on the cell phone the most WPD, NHC Sheriff Dept or SHP. What did police do before cells the used radios and pay phones or office phone. Most law enforcement officers have the cell GLUED to their EAR. So if I text and drive do not pull me I will say I am doing official business.

It takes a crook to catch one

He's a cop.. what more do you expect? Really?

This

is the type of thing that TERKS ME OFF! If its illegal..it should be just that ILLEGAL..but OH NO..when laws get passed...exceptions are made...IF texting and driving is SO DANGEROUS...then NOBODY should be doing it...Police/Fire/Rescue aren't superhumans...it's just as distracting to them!

Wow... so if other drivers

Wow... so if other drivers are checking their weather apps while driving it's okay too??? Absolutely ridiculous. Way to set a good example!!

I have a pic of a SHERIFF TEXTING LOCALLY

So they all do it but will sure put CIVILIANS away for it, or fine them. I don't do cell phones anyhow, but I did find ONLINE the public pic of a Sheriff on a HWY texting. I can share it if you'd like.

NO ONE SHOULD BE ON THE PHONE. PAY ATTENTION TO THE ROAD FOOLS! THIS IS WHY WILMINGTON DRIVERS ARE CALLED THE WORST IDIOTS IN THE WORLD! PHONES!

Where is COMMON SENSE? Gone to the dogs!

Miss Informed

So you have a pic of a Sheriff texting locally? Are you sure he was not texting long distance? How many so called civilians have you seen put away for texting? Haha. Drama queen!

Did you know..

law enforcement are excempt in domestic violence protection orders or restraining orders and they can carry weapons.

but Joe average man must surrender his weapons even if they have a 40 year spotless record.

if they enforce the law....

they must obey the law!

did YOU Know

leo's are NOT exempt from them. Know your laws

Big Willie

A 40 year spotless record huh? Guess it just takes the one time. Maybe you should stop beating on women Willie.

Grand Ole Party - NC 50 b section k

k) Official Use Exemption. This section shall not prohibit law enforcement officers and members of any branch of the United States armed forces, not otherwise prohibited under federal law, from possessing or using firearms for official use only.

-------------------

I have never beaten a female.

She lied!

I was issued a restraining order /evicted and never saw a judge.
she dropped the claim.

will always be on my record even though dropped

the domestic violence laws are needed but can be abused

wrong

You are wrong about that. Some officers have lost their job due to a 50B order prohibiting them from possessing weapons. That order prevents them from being able to perform their job duties.
Thanks for playing.

Ummm...you CAN do the same

Ummm...you CAN do the same thing and not get in trouble. Looking at a weather map is not illegal:

§ 20‑137.4A. Unlawful use of mobile telephone for text messaging or electronic mail.

(a) Offense. – It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a vehicle on a public street or highway or public vehicular area while using a mobile telephone to:

(1) Manually enter multiple letters or text in the device as a means of communicating with another person; or

(2) Read any electronic mail or text message transmitted to the device or stored within the device, provided that this prohibition shall not apply to any name or number stored in the device nor to any caller identification information.

Perhaps you should know what you are talking about before you start whining.

Oh great. Now we will have

Oh great. Now we will have numbnuts watching videos, checking weather, ect while driving. Excellent.

Idiots

Why would they want to know what they are talking about before they start whining? Then there'd be no reason for their existence. They prefer to be little whining fools not willing to do the job themselves but first in line to gripe about people who stepped up and became law enforcement.

If every single one of the whiners would shut up, go sign up for and COMPLETE a BLET class, get hired by local law enforcement, go out and actually DO a cop's job, I guarantee they'd shut up.

But more likely, they'd flunk out the first week in BLET.

Good job Guest56565

But...You are trying to explain the law to the People of Carolina Beach which is a waste of time.

It would be like explaining to these same people that just a few years ago, people use to have to use a can opener to open a can of beer. They would faint......

Here's the deal.........

Bottom line - IT IS UNSAFE to text OR take the necessary steps to open a weather app, navigate to the desired function of said App, and lastly, view the data being presented. Heck, it may be easier to text than it is to use any of the weather apps I currently use, especially while driving.

Please tell me how that is whining? Now, go read your book on common sense.

now go read your laws!

"§ 20-137.4A. Unlawful use of mobile telephone for text messaging or electronic mail.
(a) Offense. – It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a vehicle on a public street
or highway or public vehicular area while using a mobile telephone to:
(1) Manually enter multiple letters or text in the device as a means of
communicating with another person; or
(2) Read any electronic mail or text message transmitted to the device or stored
within the device, provided that this prohibition shall not apply to any name
or number stored in the device nor to any caller identification information.
(b) Exceptions. – The provisions of this section shall not apply to:
(1) The operator of a vehicle that is lawfully parked or stopped.
(2) Any of the following while in the performance of their official duties: a law
enforcement officer; a member of a fire department; or the operator of a
public or private ambulance.
(3) The use of factory-installed or aftermarket global positioning systems (GPS)
or wireless communications devices used to transmit or receive data as part
of a digital dispatch system.
(4) The use of voice operated technology.
Botom line Is it is Unsafe for a child to ride in the front seat before age 12 but not ilegal, So shame on you mr . Rat for allowing your child to ride in the front seat!When can my child ride in the front seat?
It is legal in NC for a child to ride in the front seat:

If the child is age 5 or older, OR
If the child weighs at least 40 pounds, OR
If the vehicle does not have an active passenger side air bag, OR
If the vehicle does not have a rear seat where the child restraint can be installed. Note however, that children in rear facing child safety seats should NEVER ride in the front seat of a vehicle with an active passenger side air bag. The child will be seriously injured or killed if there is a crash and the air bag deploys.
However, it is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED that:

All children age 12 and under should ride buckled up in a rear seat.
Infants in rear facing child safety seats should NEVER ride in the front seat of a vehicle with an active passenger side air bag.
Small children should ride in a rear seat in full harness type child safety seats appropriate for their age and size.
Larger children should ride in a rear seat in a belt positioning booster until large enough for the lap and shoulder belt to fit correctly.
If a child over one year old MUST ride in the front seat with a passenger side air bag, put the child in a front facing full harness child restraint, a belt-positioning booster seat, or a correctly fitting lap and shoulder belt -- AND move the seat as far back as possible.
If a child age 12 or younger MUST ride in the front seat with a passenger side air bag, have an air bag on/off switch installed and turn the air bag off when the child in in the front seat.