The Traffic Unit is a Special Operations Unit whose primary mission is to reduce motor vehicle crashes and the deaths, injuries and property damage resulting from crashes. Several approaches are used to combat this area of concern.
Highly Visible Police Presence
One approach is through a highly visible police presence enforcing all traffic law violations in an area. The theory is that if all drivers are aware that police officers are in an area writing citations, then they will alter their driving behavior which will, in turn, reduce crashes. A second approach will include covert activities. The theory here is to catch the habitual violator who only alters his or her driving behavior while in the site of a police officer. The Traffic Unit will also respond to citizens complaints and concentrate on those areas of the city to address those violations.
Efforts Being Made
Finally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) allocate millions of dollars annually to police departments all over the country in an effort to save lives, reduce crashes, and increase seatbelt usage through its Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) grants and the Click-It-Or-Ticket campaign. In essence, the police department is able to put more officers on the street because they are paid by the federal and state government to specifically address those areas that contribute to high fatality rates in vehicle crashes.
Training in Advanced Accident Investigation
Traffic officers receive training in advanced accident investigation and are responsible for investigating all fatality crashes and those crashes where a life-threatening injury occurs. Hit and run investigations and abandoned vehicle complaints are also handled within the unit.
Participation in Events
In addition, the Traffic Unit participates in various special events, parades, and funeral escorts. The unit will also participate in safety presentations promoting traffic safety at:
- Civic Organizations
- Health Fairs
- Special Events
Use of Police Vehicles
The majority of the Traffic Unit officers complete their mission with the use of motorcycles. However, the unit does have several unmarked police cars used for enforcement. Many of the motorcycle officers compete in police motorcycle competitions each year that test their riding skills and proficiencies against motorcycle officers from other police departments. In each event, Garland Police Department Traffic Officers typically place in the top five in competition skills and have won the First Place Team Trophy on numerous occasions. They are the best of the best!