Traffic Safety Unit
TRAFFIC SAFETY IS A HIGH PRIORITY. The Sheriff's Office Traffic Safety Unit is dedicated to promoting and improving traffic safety through education, analysis, and enforcement.
Members are assigned to units including the Motorcycle Team, Traffic Cars, and the Motor Carrier Team. The Traffic Safety Unit also utilizes radar trailers and other speed recording devices.
Deputies who are assigned as motorcycle deputies focus on moving traffic violations with the goal of preventing crashes. Motorcycles are able to navigate traffic easier than patrol cars and can see more violations, such as drivers texting or talking on their cell phones since the rider sits more upright and higher than deputies in cars. Motorcycle deputies are assigned beats where they proactively work traffic complaints to improve neighborhood livability and safety. Motorcycle deputies go through extensive training and must pass the two week Basic Police Motor School. Motorcycle deputies train every month to maintain their skills and competency.
Along with the motorcycles, Traffic Car deputies enforce traffic laws, respond to traffic collisions and handle specific traffic-related complaints from community members. Two traffic positions are dedicated to driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII) detection and enforcement.
Reporting Traffic Problems
The Sheriff's Office recognizes that one of the top concerns from community members is traffic on neighborhood streets. To better respond to traffic problems in your neighborhood, you may report traffic complaints via the web.
Radar Trailer Deployment
In addition to manned traffic units, the team deploys radar trailers in neighborhoods, school zones, construction zones and other locations to help promote compliance with the speed limit. A radar trailer is an unmanned, portable, self-contained speed display unit that is towed to the desired location. Once deployed, it displays speeds of oncoming vehicles on a highly visible LED display. A speed limit sign mounted on the unit reminds drivers of the speed limit. This unit also has the capability to record the speed data. Radar trailers are well-received by the public, and provides drivers the opportunity to see how fast they are actually going and slow down, without receiving a citation.
Disabled Parking Enforcement
This program is unique in that it authorizes Sheriff's Office volunteers to take direct enforcement action by writing citations to motorists who ignore the law. Volunteers receive eight hours of classroom training and a minimum of 40 hours of field training to prepare for this assignment. Learn more about becoming a volunteer.
The most common violation cited is for parking in a disabled parking space without a disabled person parking permit, or for unauthorized use of a disabled person's parking permit.
To report illegal use of disabled parking spaces within unincorporated Washington County, submit the required information.
The primary goal of the "Dear Motorist" program is to remind our neighbors to be more cautious on the road. Through this program, the Sheriff's Office will send a letter to a registered vehicle owner after a witness reports observing a driver committing a traffic infraction. The infraction could be failing to stop at a stop sign, unlawful parking, using a cellphone, failing to yield for pedestrians, or failing to yield to a school bus.
Witnesses need to provide the vehicle's license plate number and description of the vehicle, date, time and location of the occurrence, and the witnessed infraction. Sergeant Colin Kurfess supervises this program: 503-846-5955.
Are School Zone Speed Limits Still in Effect?
Technically, yes. Although many schools are enrolled in distant learing, some still have students attending classes and programs at the school. If the school has children present, the school zone speed limit applies. We understand it may be difficult to know which schools have children in attendance so to be safe, our advice is to treat all school zones as if there are children in attendance during regular school hours. When in doubt - slow down and follow all posted traffic signs.
Thank you for helping to keep our roadways safe!