ACPD Wins Award for Traffic Safety Program

by ARLnow.com August 23, 2012 at 10:15 am 3,426 53 Comments

The Arlington County Police Department has been honored for its traffic safety program.

The department was recognized as having the best traffic safety program in Virginia, for municipal police departments with 301 to 450 sworn officers. The award was announced during the recent Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police conference.

ACPD said it accomplished its traffic safety goals through “education, enforcement and engineering,” and through a number of initiatives, including:

  • Traffic Accident Reduction Program (TARP)
  • Response to citizen complaints utilizing a traffic complaint database
  • Selective enforcement in areas designated as problem locations
  • Safe Routes to School program
  • Bicycle and Pedestrian safety
  • Participation in Virginia’s Street Smart campaigns
  • Participation in the Click or Ticket occupant safety programs

“Providing over 70 years of professional police services to the citizens and guests of Arlington County, ACPD continues a long commitment to the enforcement of all traffic laws,” the department said in a press release. “The primary goal of the department traffic safety program is to facilitate the safe and efficient flow of vehicular and pedestrian traffic.”

  • Rick

    lol at the “Safe routes to school program”. And I feel like half of these merits should go to the DES, not the police department.

  • Elmer

    Congratulations ACPD. Please note however that with more kids walking to school this year under the new APS bus changes, we will need stepped up law enforcement of the school zones and pedestrian crossing safety.
    I’ve never lived in a community like Arlington where so many drivers just blow through the 25 mph school zones without even tapping their brakes to slow down. They pass you in the school zones and honk their horns if you drive 25 in the school zones.
    PLEASE get out there around the school zones and ped crossings this school year.

    • Jessica

      100% agree

      • DCBuff

        Uh, actually those school zones aren’t 25 MPH but 20 MPH “when lights flashing”–so, if you are going 25, you are also blowing through.

        • Elmer

          Thanks, I was working from memory. I always do the posted limit, school zone flashing lights at 20 mph included.

        • Elmer

          Thanks for bringing that up. I’m driving the posted speed limit in all instances, the speed limit on the flashing school zone signs included. If its posted 20 mph, then I go 20 mph.
          Curiously, Section 14.2 – 12 C. of the Arlington County Code, updated 5-2012, states:
          C. In any event, irrespective of the type or use of vehicle driven, no person shall drive same in excess
          of fifteen (15) miles per hour between portable signs or fixed blinking signs placed in the highway bearing the word
          “School” which word shall indicate that school children are present in the immediate vicinity.

        • chimichanga

          School zones are 15 when flashing

  • Taylor

    No surprise that Arlington gets an award for what’s basically a count of traffic tickets — seems like that’s all our police department does.

    According to the state’s Auditor of Public Accounts, Arlington spends $314 per capita on law enforcement and traffic control, more than virtually any other large jurisdiction in the state (with the exception of crime-plagued Richmond, which is at $425).

    By contrast, Fairfax County spends $225 per capita.

    Given the supposedly low rates of serious crime here, it really makes me wonder whether the County is overspending on law enforcement. Arlington must have the highest rate of speed traps/HOV traps/inspection sticker traps, etc. in the state. To me, it looks like the County leaders see the police department as little more than a money-maker through traffic tickets, which is pretty sad.

    • Thes

      From the story, it’s not at all clear how this award is “basically a count of traffic tickets”. Can you provide a citation?

      • Rick

        Bullets 3, 6, and 7?

      • Taylor

        I’d like to know that myself. I made that comment because of the 7 bullet points listed, all but two (Safe Routes to School and the Complaint Database) seem to be traffic-ticket oriented… as in ticket blitzes that we hear about often, etc.

        Just a guess that the majority of the award consituted participation in ticket-writing programs.

        Regarding the state auditor’s report, it’s available here:

        …the whole ticket-trap thing is just something that annoys me about Arlington and seems overzealous, and no, I’ve never gotten a ticket.

        • NoVapologist

          The complaint database isn’t just for tickets.

          We live on a 25mph residential road that people use as a cut-through, particularly during the rush hours. Some of those drivers have no problem doing 45mph or more. We and our neighbors routinely call the non-emergency line (703-558-2222) for the worst offenders. If the county gets multiple complaints (as few as 2) they will send the person a letter. We have seen several drivers that used to fly down our street every morning and flip us off if we dared tell them to slow down become grandmas behind the wheel after a couple of phone calls to the popo.

          • Bravo for your adovacy for ACPoliceD action. An example for others to emulate.

      • CW

        What other mechanisms do you believe a “law enforcement” agency has to help “facilitate the safe and efficient flow of vehicular and pedestrian traffic”? Do you think they stand out there with lighted cones, or tie anvils to the back of cars to slow them down?

      • chimichanga

        Oh the police chief sent a memo to his line mgmt telling them to enforce quotas. Google it on ABC who had a copy of the memo.

    • James Moron

      Nothing wrong with nailing people who ignore the rules and bringing in some revenue in the process. If you don’t like the laws, vote accordingly. Don’t blame the police for doing their job — enforcement.

  • G Clifford Prout (now moderated for extra purity)

    Better safety through proactivity expectations!

  • Columbia Pike Resident

    How about Arlington County work on better/clearer signage for Columbia Pike (eastbound) where you’re supposed to be in the left lane to go straight or else you get a ticket?? You know what I am referring to? That rush hour rule… right before the 395 ramp and S Queen St? Yeah… obviously practically NO ONE sees the signs (the cop said there were more than 1?). Those cops pull over dozens of cars at once. I got a ticket there 2 years ago & I’m still pissed about it. The tree branches were covering the signage… and I’d lived in that area for two years and never knew that law existed.

    • Matt

      FYI – There are 7 (SEVEN) signs indicating what drivers are to do before that intersection. Including signs over head, on the side, and others with big bright yellow NOTICE signs. Maybe you should pay attention and take responsibility for your inattentiveness instead of trying to pass it off on someone else.

      • Josh S


  • SomeGuy

    “Selective enforcement…”

    What part of bullet #3 deserves praise?

    • Matt

      The fact that they ‘select’ to spend their limited enforcement times in areas that need it and not on a dead end street with two houses? Just a guess.

      • SomeGuy

        The fact that you ‘select’ to equate selective enforcement with selective patrolling suggests that I’m more discerning than you are. Just a guess.

        • Matt

          That’s right. You are clearly all knowing and I was wrong to think selective enforcement was not synonymous with selective patrolling. How silly of me. Thank God for anonymous online blogs to put me in my place and to allow people like you to flex your unfounded scholarly might.

          Let me guess, you got a ticket instead of the warning you were entitled to?

          • SomeGuy

            Your guess is wrong.

            Your snark at 10:51 am wasn’t necessary in the first place, and continuing it doesn’t help.


  • MC 703

    World’s safest highway onramps between 6am and 10am. Woot!

  • CW

    Great job ACPD!

    Now how about you graduate to taking care of the murders, rapes, attempted sexual assaults, stabbings, break-ins…

    • novasteve

      I think sticker enforcement is a higher priority for them.

    • YTK


  • Wall Street Wizard

    Arlington has a TARP program, too? Sign me up! I need another ailout to pay for my car elevator!

  • O Newton

    I find this ironic since on May 23rd 2012, at 0730, I was crossing the pedestrian crosswalk across washington blvd (by Post Office) when a ACPD patrol car would NOT stop and came 2 feet from hitting my gf and me.

    I saw him all the way, he was looking at his mounted laptop and not even looking at us or the road.

    He was not in a emergency situation either.

    • CW

      Yep, happens all the time. On lee highway they turn on their lights just long enough to blow a red light then turn them back off. Seen it a dozen times. ACPD are the most dangerous drivers on the road.

      • JimPB

        Video these incidents and post to You Tube and send to ARLCo board and ACPoliceD.

  • PL25rd

    I was in a horrible car accident (totaled my car) at the intersection of Glebe & Fairfax Dr. about two years ago. It was the other driver’s fault, but I think he turned left into my car b/c he didn’t realize that the lane I was in was a through lane. After the accident, I called the police non-emergency number and was directed to the outreach person and left a detailed message about the design of that intersection. Did I ever hear back? Nope.

    I’m just perplexed by the number of police cars at the on-ramp to I-66 in the mornings, when they should be on Glebe monitoring the numerous traffic violations!

    • Josh S

      I am very sorry for your accident.

      However, one person having an accident does not make for a poorly designed intersection.

      • PL25rd

        I agree – but wouldn’t you also agree that the intersection of N. Glebe and N. Fairfax IS poorly designed?

  • bob

    O Newton finds it ironic that he was able to find an imperfect human being… Oh, the humanity!!!

    • O Newton

      Well Bob, who should be setting the example?

      Don’t worry I made him feel like an idiot after I berated him publicly.

      • Matt

        Well hopefully next time you need the police, they will treat you with a little more decency than you exhibited.

        Whatever happened to do unto others as you’d have done you? It was clearly an accident. No need to get all nasty just so you can yell at a cop to make yourself feel better.

        • O Newton

          If I did not intervene and stop him, I am certain the Officer would not have even known he almost hit us. Am I right or wrong for correcting him?

          I’ve been in other states and Nations for that matter where drivers receive heavy fines for not yeilding to pedestrians. Here it isn’t even enforced.

          At that Crosswalk, drivers RARELY yield to pedestrians and nobody is enforcing it.

          • JimPB

            My experience is that many drivers do yield to pedestrians, but there are too many exceptions. Agree, enforcement is needed … with tickets (fines), no warnings. Contrary to those who view a lot of $s from traffic tickets as an illegitimate source of revenue, I view $s from traffic tickets as an indicator of the prevalence of traffic law violations. A lot of money means a lot of traffic law violations. Drivers could reduce this source of revenue to Zip by obeying traffic laws.

  • Tumblebum

    This press release was like loosing a pigeon at a skeet range.
    Rave on!

  • Sticker enforcement is a higher priority or having a coffee in Shrlington.

  • HollaArl

    To recap the wants of the citizens:

    Must have cops at every intersection to prevent accidents.
    Must have cops at every crosswalk to prevent cars slamming into peds.
    Must have cops at every school zone to prevent crazy drivers hitting a kid.
    Must have cops in every Arlington park to prevent sex assaults.
    Must have cops in every home to prevent break-ins
    Must have cops in the vicinity of every home, business, and aprtment building to prevent murders.

    We’re gonna need more cops.

    • NoVapologist

      Don’t forget the banks. Must have cops at every bank to prevent stick-ups.

  • B22201

    I can’t safely drive with all of the pot-holes I need to dodge.

  • Drivers disregarding school safety laws, e.g., speed limits, stopping when school bus red lights are flashing, is a general problem — e.g., parents I know in other jurisdictions report your perception of drivers for their jurisdictions, and various jurisdictions in the area have put video cameras on school busses to detect drivers who do not stop when the bus red lights are flashing. This shouldn’t weaken rightful advocacy
    with the ARLCO board and ACPoliceD that county police undertake an even more thorough, enduring and aggressive program of monitoring drivers for adherence to school safety laws, always ticketing (no warnings) violations.

  • Disgruntled50

    Congrats to Chief Scott and the brass for setting up the insane quota system in order to win these awards. The grant and overtime money being gained by abusing the taxpayers must be really nice. Please keep up the focus on revenue creating traffic enforcement and continue to selectively report certain crime stats to the public. Oh, and continue discouraging your officers from proactive criminal enforcement.

  • treemonkey5000

    Thank you Arlington County for spending millions to paint unused bike lanes all around Military Road, and up and down Williamsburg Blvd…

    Also my car’s rear suspension thanks you for all the added speed bumps, and my gas tank would like to thank you for all the stop-and-go at the lights, and my brakes would like to thank you for all the added congestion from reducing two-lanes down to one (as if there are less cars on the roads these days).

    Thanks Arlington Democrats! We are truly on the path to becoming the zen urban community that we all envisioned.

    • JimPB

      — The speed bumps and narrowing from two to one lane each way were in response to vigorous resident advocacy and ArlCo’s determination by vehicular traffic counts and speed recorders that the resident’s advocacy met ARLCo’s criteria for speed calming action(s).

      Drive the speed limit and your car and budget will appreciate the increased mpg. Drive the speed limit and begin coasting immediately when a traffic light ahead is red and the light may be green when you get to the intersection.

      — Durin daylight hours, I usually see bicyclists on Williamsburg and on Military.

      • chimichanga

        Your suspension and axles take on additional ware and tear going over speed bumps even if you are driving under the speed limit.

    • NoVapologist

      If you think those bike lanes on Military are unused, you clearly don’t live near there.

  • chimichanga

    Just called 911 to report yet again another accident at our n.park and Rt 50 intersection. Can we get some of that safety?


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