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Ticket or warning?: 'It's officer's discretion'

Cary Ashby • Jul 10, 2019 at 1:00 PM

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second installment in a two-part series based on separate “ride-alongs” that Reflector staff writer Cary Ashby did with the Huron County Sheriff’s Office.

The noises created by the radar unit may seem like nothing more than squawking white noise to the untrained ear. But for Huron County Sheriff’s Deputy Brett Grandy, the changes in pitch tell him if incoming vehicles are speeding.

And he can do it without looking at the digital readout mounted on the top of his dashboard.

While driving in Fitchville, Grandy estimated a truck was going 45 or 46 mph. For the car behind it, the deputy said it went 33 mph. 

Grandy said “a higher stinging sound” indicates when a vehicle is going faster and very high speeds of 90 or 100 mph make a very distinctive high-pitched noise. Certified to use the radar unit, he tests its calibration with a tuning fork before each of his shifts start.

The 2010 Western Reserve graduate has been with the sheriff’s office for five years. For the first three, Grandy was a corrections officer and did transports from the jail to court. He has been on the road for the last two years.

Growing up with several people who are in law enforcement, Grandy said they “made a positive impression” on him and led him into the field.

“My entire life basically I wanted to do it,” added the deputy who graduated from the EHOVE Career Center police academy.

For a recent ride-along, he was assigned to cover the southern portion of Huron County. He mostly patrolled Ohio 162, Ohio 61, Ohio 13 and U.S. 250. Grandy said when there’s a call it’s important to find the roads which allows the fastest and most direct access to where he needs to be. 

“Sometimes it gets busy and it’s hard to do anything,” he said, referring to his plans for his shift. “That’s just the way it is. … You have priority calls you have to take.”

While on Ohio 61 near the Willard reservoir, he clocked a pickup truck driver going 68 mph. The deputy found a driveway in which to turn around and then raced after the truck, eventually activating his lights and sirens. 

The driver pulled over to the side of the road, but the location put both his truck and the sheriff’s sport utility vehicle slightly north of a rise on Ohio 61. Grandy said he had the driver pull up about 100 yards so they were more visible to traffic coming from behind and would avoid a rear-end collision.

“Safety is key,” added the deputy, who checked to see if the man had a valid or suspended driver’s license.

Ultimately, Grandy gave the driver a warning about his speed. 

“It’s officer’s discretion,” he said.

As soon the deputy approached the driver’s side window, the man notified him he had a concealed-carry permit and had his weapon properly stored.

“Surprisingly enough, people don’t (tell you that),” Grandy said shortly after the traffic stop. “That was the first thing he uttered, which is awesome. … He cooperated completely and he admitted his problem. He said, ‘I was speeding; I’m not gonna lie.’”

The deputy added he had to give credit to the driver for being up front with him, noting he did everything he should have during the stop.

Just after Grandy filled his cruiser with gas at the Circle K in Willard, a man walking out of the convenience store waved him down. The deputy said the man wanted to know if Ohio was going to start having only one license plate. The vehicle he recently purchased didn’t come with a front mount for a license plate.

“That’s the fifth or sixth person who asked (about) it. … So there’s something in the works,” Grandy said.

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