8-1 Traffic Enforcement

Policy Type: Local

Approved By: Chief John Venuti, Virginia Commonwealth University Police Department

Initial Policy Approved: 4/24/2013

Current Revision Approved: 4/30/2019



The purpose of this directive is to outline the role and responsibilities of the VCUPD Traffic Division. The primary duty of the Traffic Division is the enforcement of traffic laws in order to reduce traffic collisions, their resulting injuries, and to facilitate the safe and expedient flow of vehicular and pedestrian traffic. These efforts result in safer roadways and streets, fewer fatalities and injuries, and reductions in property damage. The Traffic Division concentrates its enforcement efforts in the areas with the highest need based on data collection and traffic engineering information.


Accountability Statement

All employees are expected to fully comply with the guidelines and timelines set forth in this written directive. Failure to comply will result in appropriate corrective action. Responsibility rests with the division commander to ensure that any policy violations are investigated and appropriate training, counseling and/or disciplinary action is initiated.


Traffic Enforcement Practices

  1. The regular use of marked and unmarked vehicles for traffic enforcement purposes will be practiced by the Traffic Division and the Patrol Division, as needed by the Department.
    1. Unmarked cars utilized for traffic enforcement shall be equipped with emergency lights and siren.
    2. Officers operating unmarked cars for the purpose of traffic enforcement shall be in uniform at all times.
    3. Unconventional vehicles shall not be used for traffic enforcement purposes.
      1. NOTE: The department’s utility vehicle (Gator XUV835M) is considered an unconventional vehicle. This utility vehicle is not to be used for traffic enforcement purposes, nor in the capacity of backing another unit conducting traffic enforcement.
  2. Traffic enforcement procedures include:
    1. Visible patrol:
      1. Area - Moving and stationary observation in an area that includes a number of streets and sections of roadway
      2. Line - Moving or stationary observation on a specific street or highway between two points
      3. Directed - Patrol that is specifically directed by supervisory personnel and is based on unfavorable traffic accidents
      4. Observation:
        1. Covert - Traffic enforcement units will not be concealed from view of the roadway being observed to the extent that the observer is not visible to persons using ordinary powers of observation.
        2. Overt - Traffic enforcement units will be positioned in such a manner that the roadway, intersection or area being observed is visible to persons using ordinary powers of observation.


Selective Enforcement

  1. Selective traffic enforcement personnel are deployed to achieve a goal of reducing traffic accidents and injuries by strict enforcement of traffic laws and to encourage voluntary compliance.
  2. Selective traffic enforcement personnel are deployed when manpower permits, based upon a specific identified need.
  3. Complaints of a nature that indicate the need for additional traffic enforcement in a particular area may ultimately result in the deployment of selective traffic enforcement.
  4. The Traffic Division lieutenant will coordinate the functions of the selective enforcement deployment, which includes the following:
    1. Provide officers with experience in detecting, testing and testifying against the impaired driver and other traffic violators
    2. Provide officers with experience in traffic investigations
    3. Deploy personnel to specific areas with a high accident probability to observe violations and take necessary enforcement action
    4. Identify and apprehend traffic violators with an emphasis on the impaired driver
    5. Note possible engineering problems and notify Communications who will notify the City of Richmond's Traffic Engineering Division
  5. The Traffic Division lieutenant will complete a selective traffic law enforcement program evaluation on an annual basis to ascertain the effectiveness of traffic law enforcement. The evaluation will include comparisons of enforcement required and results of enforcement accomplished.
  6. Upon request, the Records Analysts will assist the Traffic Division with gathering, tabulating and analyzing accident and traffic summonses data. Any gathered data will be analyzed by the Traffic Division to determine whether the areas currently needing selective patrol are being addressed. The Traffic Division will make a report of their findings and disseminate them to the rest of the patrol supervisors.


Personnel Deployment

  1. The deployment of traffic enforcement personnel is to be based on the number of traffic officers that are available. Traffic enforcement personnel will be deployed in those areas with the highest concentration of accidents and calls for traffic services.
  2. Traffic officers will be assigned by geographical locations determined to be the most hazardous. General patrol units will also be notified of the most hazardous areas.


Traffic Component Functions

  1. The Traffic Division lieutenant has responsibility for the Traffic Division within the department. There shall be two patrol officers assigned as Traffic officers on the day shift, who may also be assigned to other patrol duties. The Traffic Division lieutenant has responsibilities for coordination, planning, analysis and inspection of the Department's traffic-related activities, to include all of the following:
    1. Accident investigation
    2. Traffic safety education
    3. Liaison with traffic safety groups
    4. Budget and grant proposals for traffic safety expenses
    5. Traffic and pedestrian flow issues
  2. The traffic functions will be performed based on the following levels:
    1. By line personnel in the course of performing day-to-day patrol operations
    2. Through any personnel assigned to a selective Traffic Division (short or long term) for specialized enforcement
  3. Based upon statistical data from the Virginia DMV’s Traffic Records Electronic Data System (TREDS) and the City of Richmond Traffic Engineering Division, the Traffic Division will analyze the findings and coordinate selective enforcement activity.
  4. Daily responsibilities of the Traffic Division are as follows:
    1. Ensure that all citations and accident reports are properly completed
    2. Verify all accident reports for clarity and correctness
    3. Use every opportunity to educate the community about traffic safety
    4. Assist in departmental training efforts regarding proper traffic enforcement techniques,
    5. Distribute/deliver traffic safety public education materials, messaging, information, etc. via traffic initiatives, enforcement activity, community events, social media, and electronic mediums
    6. Maintain liaison with other agencies for traffic safety and engineering
    7. Maintain liaison with the Commonwealth Attorney's office



Traffic Component Objectives

  1. The objectives of the traffic component are evaluated annually.
  2. Quantifiable results will be studied to establish the effectiveness of the program and direct changes to procedures where necessary.
  3. The evaluations of these objectives will be forwarded to the Chief of Police.
  4. The ultimate objectives of the traffic enforcement component are to reduce traffic accidents and gain voluntary compliance with traffic laws.


Traffic Records

  1. The Traffic Division lieutenant will maintain a traffic report review system. The officer will ensure all traffic accident reports, traffic summonses, and other traffic-related reports are submitted in a timely manner and are accurate and complete. The Traffic Division lieutenant will also ensure that the traffic records and reporting systems are reviewed periodically and computer data systems are updated on a daily basis when applicable. enforcement.
  2. This system includes all of the following:
    1. Traffic accident report files
    2. Traffic enforcement files
    3. Traffic arrests and dispositions
    4. Traffic enforcement data
  3. Computer data will be maintained to reflect the locations of all accidents and all summonses issued.
  4. The traffic records system will be maintained in conjunction with the centralized records system.
  5. Copies of reports shall be made readily available to ensure prompt transmittal of required copies to the traffic component and to the appropriate state/local agencies as required by agency policy.


Revision History

This policy supersedes the following archived policies:

4/24/2013 - 8-1 Traffic Enforcement

5/27/2014 - 8-1 Traffic Enforcement