Proactive Law Enforcement
Proactive traffic enforcement is an effective strategy used to protect the public from the devastation caused by drug abuse, street and highway traffic-related death and injury, illegal trafficking in and possession of weapons and apprehension of fugitives. Proactive traffic enforcement is used to promote and maintain an orderly and law abiding society.
Proactive traffic enforcement must and will continue to be conducted in fullest compliance with the constitutional and statutory safeguards established to preserve the rights of citizens, the prescriptions of case law, and the sanctioned policies and practices of law enforcement agencies.
Proactive traffic enforcement that is race or ethnic-based is neither legal, consistent with democratic ideals, values, and principles of American policing, nor in any way a legitimate and defensible public protection strategy. It is not, cannot and will not be tolerated by the HCSO.
Areas to Patrol
One criminal interdiction strategy designed to suppress or terminate the activities of drug couriers, traffickers in illegal firearms, violent gangs, terrorists and others who pose a threat to public safety and security is proactive traffic enforcement. Proactive traffic enforcement should be focused on areas where a reduction in crashes and criminal activity will result.
Selective enforcement has been used successfully for years to reduce traffic deaths and injuries by focusing efforts on types of violations that most frequently cause traffic crashes, and deploying officers by days of the week, hours of the day and at locations where, statistically, crashes are most likely to occur. This strategy also enables resource-strapped law enforcement agencies to invest personnel costs effectively.
Drunk drivers account for nearly forty percent of the 40,000 or more highway deaths every year. Scientific research has enabled the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to develop a set of daytime and nighttime cues to help patrol officers spot drunk drivers. Several cues, spotted in combination, constitute probable cause for officers to believe a person is intoxicated, sleepy, injured, or ill. The logical follow-on, then, is to pull them over to determine their actual condition. Statistical probabilities have been developed, based on the number of cues present, to indicate the likelihood of a driver being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These cues are used in many states in place of more intrusive methods, such as roadblocks, to detect drunk drivers on the road.
- Lessons can be learned from the most successful officers who are able to go beyond the traffic stop and apprehend criminal suspects. Officers skilled in this technique have succeeded in spotting drug couriers, detecting stolen vehicles, apprehending fugitives, and in determining behavioral commonalities that can be used in developing probable cause.
- The contributions and cost-effectiveness of proactive enforcement, measured in arrests, drug confiscations, and deterrent value are impressive.
- Studies have shown more illegal guns are taken off the street through traffic stops than through any other tactic.
- The Drug Enforcement Administration estimates that forty percent of all drug arrests in this country are the outgrowth of traffic stops.
- Statistically, when proactive traffic enforcement efforts increase, the traffic death and injury toll often decrease.