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County Sheriff
Public Safety Building
1100 West Mallon
Spokane, WA
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Traffic Unit

The Traffic Unit serves the citizens of Spokane County in all phases of traffic enforcement, collision investigation, public education and collision prevention.

Goals

  • Involve citizens in community traffic safety.
  • Analyze the causes of accidents - locations, times, and types of violations.
  • Proactively enforce traffic laws to reduce accidents (emphasis: patrols, directed patrols, and DUI patrols).
  • Focus on a tiered approach of education, enforcement, and engineering to promote traffic safety.
  • Utilize the media, public presentations, and innovative programs in our education and enforcement efforts.
  • Promote and maintain cooperative relationships with county departments, other public agencies, and community and business groups.
  • Support the Patrol Division by being the first line of response to traffic accident investigations and traffic control.
  • Augment Patrol Division when necessary with general patrol responsibilities.
  • Promote a professional and helpful image in all contracts with the public, ranging from violation enforcement to public presentations.
  • Assist in training, informing, and procedural development for traffic related issues.
  • Pursue additional funding sources to promote informative educational enforcement for proactive collision prevention.

Traffic Unit Contact Information

Sgt. Dave Ellis djellis@spokanecounty.org  
(509) 477-3352

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Investigations

"Collisions are not 'Accidents' - they are the result of a Cause and Effect"

When the Sheriff was mandated (by State Legislature) to assume responsibility for all collisions on County roads, it was apparent that more than just the "basic" collision investigation taught to all Police Academy graduates, would be needed.

Our Unit now has 7 Investigators that have been through the Basic, Advanced, and Technical Levels of Collision Training. We have two investigators who have completed the next level - Reconstructionist. These are demanding courses, based on the laws of physics. The courses teach the Deputies how to compute speeds, reaction times, and acceleration/deceleration over different surfaces (on and off road!). These Deputies are available for "call out" whenever needed by Patrol Deputies.

Our Unit has grown recently, and it is the goal to train all new members through a minimum of the advanced level of Collision Investigation. With the addition of the new members to the Unit, we will eventually be able to provide (on Duty) 24hr, 7 day a week coverage to investigate Collisions.

Recognizing the importance of these investigations, the Sheriff purchased a "Total Station". This is laser based survey equipment, which can measure, then "down-load" into a CAD program not only Collision scenes, but other Crime scenes as well. This allows Investigators to draw highly detailed maps of the scene "to scale", for investigation and Court purposes.

Motorcycle Unit

Sheriff Deputy on motorcycleIn 1999, the Traffic Unit obtained motorcycles in the unit. With the maneuverability and accessibility that comes with the motorcycle, traffic enforcement has been significantly enhanced. The motorcycles are extremely maneuverable, and are an effective tool when used in "heavy" traffic.

The motorcycles are Kawasaki Concourse 1400's. The motorcycles are approximately 1/2 the cost of a regular patrol car to purchase, and use typically less than 3 gal of gas to operate (per day) - instead of 12 to 16 gal needed by a car. Each Deputy rider was certified in the operation of police motorcycles through an intense two week specialized course of training.

The Traffic Unit now has 8 Deputies certified in operation of the "Motors".