The Pima County Sheriff's Department's Traffic Unit is comprised of one sergeant, seven deputies, and one special staff assistant. The Unit is responsible for the investigation of fatal and serious injury motor vehicle collisions, train wrecks, plane crashes, and industrial accidents. The Unit also conducts post-incident investigations for vehicle pursuits, hit-and-run collisions, aggravated DUI arrests, and patrol car collisions.
Unlike many other investigative units, the Traffic Unit has a dual role. In addition to completing extensive in-depth investigations, unit members act in an enforcement role by operating marked patrol vehicles and performing traffic and DUI enforcement on a daily basis.
In addition to their everyday duties, the Traffic Unit also assists other criminal investigation units with the diagramming or mapping of crime scenes.
Each deputy assigned to the Traffic Unit receives extensive training in vehicular homicide investigation and DUI enforcement from the Governor's Office of Highway Safety, Northwestern University Center for Public Safety, and the Institute of Police Technology and Management. Unit members are certified by the International Association of Chiefs of Police as Drug Recognition Experts. The Traffic Unit takes an active leadership role among Southern Arizona law enforcement agencies through its work in training and as investigative support for other jurisdictions. The Pima County Sheriff's Department's Traffic Unit, in conjunction with the Governor's Office of Highway Safety, often hosts over 200 hours of training in collision investigation by presenting the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety curriculum of Accident Investigation 1, Accident Investigation 2, and Vehicle Dynamics. To date, this training has been attended by more than seventy students from six local law enforcement agencies as well as Pima County traffic engineers.
The Traffic Unit participates in each Southern Arizona DUI Task Force Operation and Department sobriety checkpoints throughout Pima County. These checkpoints are aimed at detecting and deterring impaired drivers. The Traffic Unit, in conjunction with the DUI and Motorcycle Enforcement Unit, deputies from each patrol district, Sheriff’s Auxiliary Volunteers, and the other Special Operations Units, conducted over 200 checkpoints since 2005, resulting in over 1500 arrests. Over 135,000 vehicles passed through these checkpoints and each motorist was given a questionnaire regarding the operation of these checkpoints. To date, over 95 percent of Pima County residents who responded to this poll favored the use of sobriety checkpoints in the Pima County Sheriff’s Department’s efforts to remove impaired motorists from Pima County roadways.
The Pima County Sheriff's Department launched a zero-tolerance enforcement campaign, "Project BUS," aimed at ensuring motorists obey traffic laws around school buses that are boarding or unloading children. This program is funded through grants received from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.
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