RPD speed crackdown

Tickets Are Coming

In Buzz, December 2021/January 2022 by Melissa Howsam1 Comment

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RPD is making speeding a chief priority—and cracking down to save lives.

Better late than dead on time. It’s a chilling reminder of what we see playing out on the Raleigh streets. “Speed is a killer,” said Raleigh Police Chief Estella Patterson in a sit down interview with Raleigh Magazine. “In the month of October alone, we had 12 fatalities.” Twelve—which is more than double what we had last December. Certainly a sobering statistic that makes you stop and think—and, hopefully, slow down. Which is exactly what the Raleigh Police Department wants you to do. But in case you don’t heed the warning, tickets are coming. 

Enter the rollout of its speed reduction enforcement (see “What You’ll See”). Key word: Enforcement. RPD—in full transparency—wants you to know speeding is a chief priority. “We want to let people know that we’re serious about speed and that you need to slow down,” said Patterson. “We’ll be running radar, and if a car is speeding, then we’ll stop them. The goal is for them to see us out there. This isn’t a secret. They’re going to see highway patrol vehicles, RPD vehicles, motorcycles… and they’re gonna know we’re doing a big speed enforcement.”   

If you’ve been through Five Points recently, perhaps you’ve noticed the new trio of fixed electronic speed monitors, starting near the high wreck zone that is the NoFo bookended shopping center (like the July wreck that saw a car careen into those storefronts at 80mph) and ending on the other side of the bridge.

“Coming into Raleigh, I didn’t identify speeding as one of my big things. But I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Once I got here and saw people driving recklessly, the number of fatalities and wrecks… many of which are due to speeding or inattentive drivers, it became a priority for me.” 

–RPD Chief Estella Patterson

So why the crackdown? Well, besides the obvious grave October statistic, since joining RPD this summer, speed is the No. 1 complaint Patterson hears—a problem that she acknowledged seems to have accelerated with more drivers back on the road post-pandemic. 

These are not hidden cop cars and police officers in bushes trying to trap you. This will be in plain sight citywide—but with a focus on problem areas. Glenwood is a popular complaint, as are Creedmoor and Millbrook, she said. “It’s the long corridors, especially when there’s no lights and people can really just speed on those roadways. So, because of that, we’re not just focusing on one particular area. The big driver for us is the data. We are targeting areas where we’re seeing multiple fatalities—where people are dying as a result of speed.” 

To spread a wider net—and because other jurisdictions are seeing the same concerns and complaints—RPD is working in conjunction with partners like the highway patrol, as well as local police agencies (Apex, Morrisville, Holly Springs, etc.) in its speed reduction enforcement. 

And now, as we enter December, when we tend to see, anecdotally at least, more traffic, collisions, drinking and driving, and speeding… education and transparency are crucial for Patterson. It’s a message she has reiterated at every community meeting, at every opportunity—including this interview—with plans of putting it on blast on RPD social channels.  

The Chief acknowledges that while the October fatality stat may be an anomaly, “nonetheless it was a very high number. And many of those were speed-related, and they were senseless,” she said. So it’s important now that RPD really pushes the needle on this, putting officers out strategically where they know people are driving at excessive speeds. “If we work collaboratively and people know that officers are out and that we’re cracking down on speeders, that will serve as a natural deterrent.” 

This is RPD informing you up front to slow down to save lives—or there will be consequences. So, when you “do get a citation,” said the Chief, “you won’t say, ‘Well the police are setting up speed traps.’ No, we’ve been telling you that we’re gonna be out there and that we’re gonna be cracking down on speeding.” 

What You’ll See

RPD’s speed reduction enforcement elements


  • Mobile Speed Trailers
  • Radar Guns
  • Electronic Speed Monitors
  • Motorcycle Units


  • 12/3 Expect a saturated patrol (aka allocating large numbers of extra squad cars) with RPD, the Wake County Sheriff’s Office and highway patrol.
  • 12/8 A citywide school bus project (think RPD motorcycles following buses) in response to complaints of people speeding around stopped school buses

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