University of California Santa Cruz Police Department
UC Santa Cruz PD Policy Manual



Traffic Function and Responsibility


The ultimate goal of traffic law enforcement is to reduce traffic collisions. This may be achieved through the application of such techniques as geographic/temporal assignment of personnel and equipment and the establishment of preventive patrols to deal with specific categories of unlawful driving behavior. Traffic enforcement techniques are based on accident data, enforcement activity records, traffic volume, and traffic conditions. This department provides enforcement efforts toward violations, not only in proportion to the frequency of their occurrence in accident situations, but also in terms of traffic-related needs.



Several factors are considered in the development of deployment schedules for officers of the University of California Santa Cruz Police Department. Information provided by the California Statewide Integrated Traffic Reporting System (SWITRS) is a valuable resource for traffic accident occurrences and therefore officer deployment. Some of the factors for analysis include:

  • Location
  • Time
  • Day
  • Violation factors

All officers assigned to patrol or traffic enforcement functions will emphasize enforcement of accident causing violations during high accident hours and at locations of occurrence. All officers will take directed enforcement action on request, and random enforcement action when appropriate against violators as a matter of routine. All officers shall maintain high visibility while working general enforcement, especially at high accident locations.

Other factors to be considered for deployment are citizen requests, construction zones or special events.



Enforcement actions are commensurate with applicable laws and take into account the degree and severity of the violation committed. This department does not establish ticket quotas and the number of arrests or citations issued by any officer shall not be used as the sole criterion for evaluating officer overall performance (Vehicle Code § 41603). The visibility and quality of an officer's work effort will be commensurate with the philosophy of this policy. Several methods are effective in the reduction of collisions:


500.3.1 WARNINGS

Warnings or other non-punitive enforcement actions should be considered in each situation   and substituted for arrests or citations when circumstances warrant, especially in the case of inadvertent violations.



Citations may be issued when an officer believes it is appropriate. It is essential that officers fully explain the rights and requirements imposed on motorists upon issuance of a citation for a traffic violation. Officers should provide the following information at a minimum:

 (a) Explanation of the violation or charge

 (b) Court appearance procedure including the optional or mandatory appearance by the motorist

 (c) Notice of whether the motorist can enter a plea and pay the fine by mail or at the court



Physical arrest can be made on a number of criminal traffic offenses outlined in the Vehicle Code or Penal Code. These physical arrest cases usually deal with, but are not limited to:

 (a) Vehicular manslaughter

 (b) Felony and misdemeanor driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs

 (c) Felony or misdemeanor hit-and-run

 (d) Refusal to sign notice to appear

 (e) Any other misdemeanor at the discretion of the officer, such as reckless driving with extenuating circumstances



If an officer contacts a traffic violator for driving on a suspended or revoked license, the officer may issue a traffic citation pursuant to Vehicle Code § 14601.

If a computer check of a traffic violator's license status reveals a suspended or revoked driver license and the traffic violator still has his or her license in possession, the license shall be seized by the officer. The officer shall verbally advise the traffic violator of the suspension or revocation and issue the citation. The officer will be responsible for filling out the Verbal Notice form (DMV form DL-310) and causing that form and license to be forwarded to the Department of Motor Vehicles.



The Department has provided American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Class II high-visibility vests to increase the visibility of department members who may be exposed to hazards presented by passing traffic, maneuvering or operating vehicles, machinery and equipment (23 CFR 655.601; 8 CCR 1598). 

Although intended primarily for use while performing traffic related assignments, high-visibility vests should be worn at any time increased visibility would improve the safety or efficiency of the member.



Except when working in a potentially adversarial or confrontational role, such as during vehicle stops, high-visibility vests should be worn at any time it is anticipated that an employee will be exposed to the hazards of approaching traffic or construction and recovery equipment. Examples of when high-visibility vests should be worn include traffic control duties, accident investigations, lane closures and while at disaster scenes, or anytime high visibility is desirable. When emergency conditions preclude the immediate donning of the vest, officers should retrieve and wear the vest as soon as conditions reasonably permit. Use of the vests shall also be mandatory when directed by a supervisor.

Vests maintained in the investigation units may be used any time a plainclothes officer might benefit from being readily identified as a member of law enforcement.



High-visibility vests shall be maintained in the trunk of each patrol and investigation unit, in the side box of each police motorcycle and in the saddlebag or gear bag of each police bicycle. Each vest should be stored inside the re-sealable plastic bag provided to protect and maintain the vest in a serviceable condition. Before going into service each employee shall ensure a serviceable high-visibility vest is properly stored.

A supply of high-visibility vests will be maintained in the equipment room for replacement of damaged or unserviceable vests. The Training Sergeant should be promptly notified whenever the supply of vests in the equipment room needs replenishing.




Policy 500 PDF