Mecklenburg approves broadening Lake Norman patrols

Mecklenburg County commissioners on Thursday unanimously approved a resolution that broadens the access of police patrols on Lake Norman.

Under the resolution that must be approved by all four counties of the Lake Norman Marine Commission, any lake patrol in those counties would have access to the entire lake and its shoreline.

Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio told commissioners that the original resolution creating the marine commission in 1969 “was incomplete” and didn’t formally provide access for the entire lake to lake patrols.

“It did not give them authority to patrol or pursue police action in waters outside their territorial jurisdictions,” Diorio said. “So if they go over the line to initiate a police action, they do not have the authority to do that.”

The resolution approved Thursday by Mecklenburg commissioners must also be approved by commissioners in Lincoln, Catawba and Iredell counties. Mecklenburg was first up, Diorio said.

The marine commission endorsed the resolution in January.

The original document was not “comprehensive enough,” Diorio said in an interview. “We want to make sure anybody can patrol anywhere on the lake.”

In a letter to the four county managers, marine commission Executive Director Ron Shoultz encouraged the counties to approve the resolution.

The new resolution specifies that law enforcement officers in the four counties “have the authority of peace officers in enforcing the laws over all of Lake Norman and its shoreline.”

Diorio and staffers discovered the problem during research for the transfer of Mecklenburg’s lake patrol from Charlotte-Mecklenburg police to the town of Cornelius.

She and officials in the other three counties have worked on the resolution for months. Mecklenburg commissioners approved it without any discussion.

Perlmutt: 704-358-5061