General Order 61.1

Last Revised: 03-01-2017


This order consists of the following numbered sections:

61.1.1    Traffic enforcement

61.1.2    Profiling prohibited

61.1.3    Special driver categories

61.1.4    Violator notification

61.1.5    Uniform enforcement

61.1.6    Traffic enforcement practices

61.1.7    Alcohol/drug traffic enforcement

61.1.8    Identification and referral to driver re-examination

61.1.9    Parking enforcement

61.1.10    Collision response

61.1.11    Collision investigation

61.1.12    Collision scene responsibilities

61.1.13    Property control related to collision response

61.1.14    Collision reporting

61.1.15    Collisions involving City vehicles

61.1.16    Traffic direction and control

61.1.1 Traffic enforcement

I.    Traffic enforcement is an primary activity of the Special Operations Division and a secondary activity of the Patrol Division.

II.    Traffic enforcement functions include the following:

A.    Planning activities: Periodic analysis of citizen input regarding traffic problems/hazards, traffic accident history, traffic enforcement history and traffic engineering issues (in cooperation with City and regional transportation planners).

B.    Prevention/intervention activities: Community education programs and public awareness campaigns.

C.    Enforcement activities: offense-specific targeted enforcement; location-specific targeted enforcement; or violator-specific targeted enforcement.

61.1.2 Profiling Prohibited

Racial, age, gender, sex, and any other type of profiling based on individual characteristics is strictly prohibited as a justification for any police officer to conduct any type of stop or seizure of a citizen. Traffic enforcement shall be based solely on the basis of the violation observed and not the profile of the operator and/or occupants. [See 26.2] In addition, profiling based on the fact that the person is riding a motorcycle is also prohibited.

61.1.3 Special Driver Categories

Officers who contact violators listed in the following categories deal with the involved individuals as described:

I.    Juveniles - Traffic violations committed by juveniles are handled as follows:

A.    Traffic violators under sixteen years of age are referred to the Juvenile Prosecutor. (A parent or guardian is required to give a waiver of rights for any juvenile under 12 years of age.)

B.    Traffic violators sixteen years of age and older are handled in the same manner as adults.

C.    When a juvenile is physically arrested for a traffic offense, the arrest procedure is the same as for other juvenile criminal offenses. [refer to General Order 44.1.5]

II.    Foreign diplomats and consular personnel - Foreign diplomats and consulate officers are immune from traffic violations, except for DUI or reckless driving.

III.    State Legislators - The Washington State Constitution (Article II, Section 16) stipulates that state legislators, while attending, going to, or returning from a session of their respective houses shall be exempt from physical arrest. However, citations may be issued as appropriate.

61.1.4 Uniform enforcement

I.    The Department expects officers to consistently and equitably issue notices of infraction for those traffic violations that warrant such action and to affect the arrest of those who commit criminal traffic violations.

II.    An officer may use discretion and issue a warning or take other appropriate action when:

A.    The officer is educating violators about new traffic laws;

B.    The drive has committed non-hazardous violations.

III.    Officers may elect to not issue infraction notices at the scene of a collision under the following circumstances:

A.    The violator left due to injury;

B.    Additional investigation is needed.

61.1.5 Traffic enforcement practices

I.    Generally, the Department uses marked vehicles for traffic enforcement. However, unmarked vehicles may also be used to conduct traffic enforcement operations. The Department’s unmarked vehicles are equipped with concealed emergency lights and siren.

II.    Officers shall activate emergency lights to notify the offender of an order to stop the vehicle. The patrol vehicle horn, and then the siren, if needed, may be employed to alert the violator to stop if the emergency lights fail to gain voluntary compliance. [see 1.3.1(III.A)]

III.    The Department authorizes the use of certified speedometers, laser speed measuring devices and radar speed measuring devices in traffic enforcement and crime prevention.

A.    Officers may use speed measuring devices for enforcement.

B.    Civilians may use speed measuring devices for driver education.

61.1.6 Alcohol/drug traffic enforcement


I.    Officers contacting motorists who appear to be impaired from use of alcohol or drugs shall conduct an initial examination at the scene of the traffic contact.

II.    Officer will offer approved State of Washington approved alcohol/drug tests in accordance with the law.

III.    All officers using approved testing equipment and standardized field sobriety tests authorized by the Department will be trained and certified prior to use.

IV.    The vehicles of suspects arrested for impaired driving charges must be impounded, with the exception of commercial vehicles and farm transport vehicles. [See RCW.55.360 for detailed procedures.]

61.1.7 Identification and referral to driver re-examination

When an officer encounters a person whom he/she believes is incompetent or otherwise not qualified to be licensed, the officer will:

I.    Complete a State Request for Re-examination form. This form includes a detailing of the physical/mental issues involved and a description of the incident(s) or circumstance(s) providing reasonable grounds for re-examination.

II.    The form, along with copies of all relevant reports is forwarded to the Department of Licensing.

61.1.8 Parking enforcement

Department employees may issue parking tickets, however, the City of Olympia Parking Services Department has primary responsibility for enforcing parking regulations in the City.

61.1.9 Collision response & investigation

I.    Response to collisions:

A.    Officers will respond to collisions occurring on public property and public rights-of-way

B.    Collisions occurring on private property are responded to and investigated only in situations where injury, death or a resulting crime is involved.

II.    Investigation

A.    Minor, non-injury collisions generally require only the recording of basic information.

B.    A more thorough investigation is required on the following types of collisions:

1.    Fatality or injury;

2.    Serious property damage;

3.    Hit and run collisions;

4.    Impairment due to alcohol and/or drugs;

5.    Hazardous material spill.

C.    When more thorough investigation is required, Officers will do the following to assist in reconstructing the collision for possible legal action and/or use in court:

1.    Photograph and measure the scene;

2.    Collect and preserve evidence;

3.    Obtain written statements from drivers, passengers and witnesses;

4.    Assist principals with the exchange of pertinent information.

D.    An officer with specialized accident investigation training will be called to the scene to assist with the investigation in all collisions involving a fatal or potentially fatal injury, or where there is high potential for litigation against the City,

E.    The Patrol lieutenant shall be notified of collisions involving the following:

1.    Fatality;

2.    Potentially fatal injury;

3.    High potential for City liability.

61.1.10 Collision scene responsibilities

I.    The primary officer assigned to an accident is responsible for assuring that the accident scene is properly protected; that all necessary information and evidence is collected; and that the proper reports are completed.

II.    In collisions described in 61.1.11(II.B.), the on-duty supervisor will, on arrival, assume charge of the scene and the investigation.

III.    Injured persons are not transported in Department vehicles unless authorized by an on-duty supervisor.

IV.    Hazardous materials and risk of fire

A.    When a potential hazardous material situation is identified, the officer in charge promptly assures that the hazard area is isolated, non-essential personnel are evacuated, the vehicle and container placards are identified, and the Olympia Fire Department is notified.

B.    Officers responding to hazardous materials/fire risk scenes position their vehicles in such a manner as to protect the scene, preserve evidence and protect the public, but not create an additional hazard.

V.    Roadway/structural damage

A.    The officer in charge assures that the Public Works Department is advised of all accidents which result in roadway damage or structural damage to City property.

B.    The officer in charge assures that the Building Inspector is advised of all accidents which result in structural damage to buildings.

VI.    Violations related to collisions

Issuance of citations and/or arrests made for violations at the scene of traffic collisions are the responsibility of the officer in charge.

61.1.11 Property control in collision response

I.    When it is necessary to tow a vehicle involved in a collision and the registered owner is not present, an inventory is made of the vehicle’s contents and an impound report is completed. All unattached items of value contained in the vehicle are listed on the impound form prior to releasing the vehicle for towing.

61.1.12 Collision reporting

Traffic collisions are reported using the State of Washington Statewide Electronic Collision & Ticket On-line Records System (SECTOR).

61.1.13 Collisions involving Department vehicles

I.    Investigation

A.    Every collision involving a Department vehicle, regardless of location, is reported to an on duty supervisor or his/her designee before the vehicle is moved from the scene.

B.    Collisions involving Department vehicles that occur within the Olympia city limits are investigated by a supervisor who may assign appropriate officers to conduct the investigation. A supervisor may request the Traffic Unit to conduct the investigation, if necessary.

C.    The on-duty supervisor may elect not to pursue the formal investigation of an accident involving a Department vehicle when no injury occurred and damage was minimal and confined to the involved Department vehicle.

D.    If, in the opinion of the on duty supervisor, a collision involving a Department vehicle that occurs within the Olympia city limits should be handled by a third party, he/she may request the assistance of a trained accident investigator from another law enforcement agency to conduct the investigation.

E.    Collisions involving Department vehicles that occur outside the Olympia city limits are investigated by the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction. In such circumstances, the on duty shift supervisor completes a Fleet Accident Report in the RMS documenting the incident.

II.    On completion of the investigation of a collision involving a department vehicle, an Accident Review Panel made up of a manager, a supervisor, and a line staff employee will be convened to determine whether the employee was acting within policy when the incident occurred.

III.    Accident review information is maintained in the Professional Standards database.

61.1.14 Traffic direction and control

Traffic direction and control is performed by the Olympia Police Department where necessary to ensure the safe and efficient movement of vehicles and pedestrians. Commissioned and civilian personnel (Cadets and volunteers) may perform traffic direction and control duties, as required.

61.1.15 Motor escorts

I.    Official escort services may be provided in the following situations:

A.    For the safety of public officials and dignitaries;

B.    To minimize traffic congestion/public risk from hazardous or unusual cargo being transported through the City;

C.    To assist other emergency vehicles in unusual circumstances;

D.    To minimize the traffic congestion/public risk from demonstrations, processions and marches.

II.    Official escorts are administratively and tactically coordinated by the Special Operations Division.

A.    When official escort services are authorized, the trip route, maximum speed for all segments of the route, emergency vehicle equipment to be utilized and all other related considerations are established in advance.

B.    Point traffic control is established, as appropriate, at locations along the scheduled route sufficient to ensure safe passage.

61.1.16 Motorist assistance

Because both the disabled motorist and the motoring public are adversely affected by the disabled motorist’s situation, the Department offers reasonable assistance to motorists who appear to be in need of aid.