Traffic Safety Unit

The United States Park Police Traffic Safety Unit is a specialized traffic enforcement and support unit that provides a number of services to the agency and the community. Most of the officers assigned to the Unit specialize in a number of traffic and enforcement related specialties. Crash reconstructions, drug recognition evaluation, radar and laser instruction, field sobriety instruction, commercial motor vehicle inspections, and forensic mapping specialties are only a few of the areas these officers specialize in.

In the Washington metropolitan area, many people travel on roadways under the jurisdiction of the United States Park Police. Traffic Safety Unit officers are out there in addition to the regular complement of officers as part of a new program called the Strategic Traffic Operations Program, or STOP Team for short. This Unit is focused on areas of concern to the United States Park Police based on crash data, drunken driving issues, and aggressive driving tendencies. The Traffic Safety Unit also coordinates the agency's involvement in many regional enforcement operations such as Smooth Operator, Click It or Ticket, WRAP, Sober Ride, and Regional DWI enforcement events. Annually, United States Park Police officers receive recognition for their participation in these endeavors.

The Smooth Operator Program is a public safety initiative, which aims to provide education, information and solutions for the problem of aggressive driving. For nearly ten years, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., have partnered through the Smooth Operator Program to combat aggressive driving. Law enforcement agencies, trauma experts, government officials and other professionals have worked together to educate motorists of the risks involved with aggressive driving, and to stigmatize aggressive driving behavior on our roads. The major complaint of motorists in the Washington area is when their normal commuter route is closed. Roadways closed due to serious vehicle collisions often cause severe traffic delays and frustration to motorists who are either trapped on a roadway or forced to divert onto unfamiliar routes. To address this issue, the United States Park Police are implementing new technology called photogrammetry, which will enable us to open roadways as quickly as possible without sacrificing the quality of the investigation. This technology will allow us to document serious vehicle collisions in a more thorough and timely manner. Photogrammetry is a software program that uses a calibrated digital camera and numbered markers to create three-dimensional scale diagrams.

Prior to acquiring this new technology, the United States Park Police relied on the use of total stations, a good tool primarily utilized by surveyors, to document and reconstruct serious vehicle collisions. Both total station and photogrammetry are equally accurate in producing high-quality diagrams of a scene;however, photogrammetry offers a time-saving advantage that makes it a worthwhile investment to our Force and the public. Whereas the total station requires more effort and time to setup and document a scene, the use of photogrammetry is simple to use, allowing most scenes to be documented quickly. This will allow roadways to reopen sooner for motorists forced to divert to other roadways or who wait while a roadway is closed for an investigation. The shortening of documentation time will also aid in the reduction of secondary collisions, which can cause further traffic issues. The use of photogrammetry will supplement other traditional methods of documenting serious incidents.

traffic safety
Officer conducting speed enforcement on the Parkway


Last updated: March 21, 2015