ASK YOUR GOVERNMENT: N.D. state troopers can stop you in town, too
Each week, Herald reporter Charly Haley answers your questions about local government, laws and other local topics. Q. Is it true that state highway patrol officers can only stop you on certain roads? I just always assume any cop can pick you up ...
Each week, Herald reporter Charly Haley answers your questions about local government, laws and other local topics.
Q . Is it true that state highway patrol officers can only stop you on certain roads? I just always assume any cop can pick you up for speeding on any road, but are there any rules about Highway Patrol being within city limits or city cops being on county-owned roads?
A. North Dakota Highway Patrol officers can stop you anywhere they see you breaking the law, just like any other cop.
“We have jurisdiction anywhere the public has reasonable belief of access,” said Sgt. Dolf Oldenburg, with the Highway Patrol. That includes rural and urban areas and some properties owned by the state, such as UND or the North Dakota State Mill.
Patrol officers are in charge of investigations on state-owned property, Oldenburg added.
They even have authority on private property if their assistance is requested by city or county law enforcement, he said. For example, if the sheriff’s department is called to respond to a rural emergency, sheriff’s deputies may check to see if a patrol officer is closer and could respond first.
But since the Highway Patrol is a state agency, assisting city or county law enforcement is its secondary function, said Lt. Dwight Love of the Grand Forks Police Department.
Highway Patrol, Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Department and Grand Forks police will sometimes all respond to events together, Love added. “All three agencies understand and respect the others’ jurisdictional areas but help each other when requested.”
Q . Why is the speed limit 35 mph on South 48th Street, between the Grand Forks Industrial Park and 32nd Avenue South? There’s little or no development there, and the speed limit is lower than other, much more heavily traveled Grand Forks streets.
A . The 35 mph speed limit was determined to be the most appropriate for South 48th Street to accommodate intersection spacing, drainage and other factors, said Jane Williams, city traffic engineer.
South 48th Street was designed with high and low areas to give the street the ability to drain and to keep as much water out of intersections as possible, Williams said. Driving faster than 35 miles per hour make drivers uncomfortable because of the undulating pavement, she said.