West Palm Beach (FL) Police Department | Traffic Safety Program Overview
West Palm Beach (FL) Police Department
2022 Winner Officer Traffic Safety
2022 General Officer Safety Finalist
2022 Comprehensive Wellness Finalist
2022 Comprehensive Safety Finalist
The West Palm Beach Police Department (WPBPD) is in Palm Beach County, which is the second largest county in Florida. West Palm Beach has a population of 113,000 citizens and spans a total of 58.1 square miles. The city is the oldest incorporated municipality in southeast Florida. Chief of Police Franklin Adderley oversees 290 sworn police officers and 98 civilians.
The WPBPD Department has many excellent officer safety and wellness programs and was a finalist in three other categories, but in Officer Traffic safety they excelled. To learn about all of West Palm Beach Police Department’s program use the link at the bottom of this page to view their entire submission.
The WPBPD has a mandatory seat belt policy and occupant protection rules that include progressive discipline for those found to violate this policy. The department places placards around its facilities to remind its members to buckle up.
To help reduce traffic related officer injuries and deaths, all officers who are issued patrol cars are issued traffic safety vests and they are required to wear them anytime that they are out of their patrol vehicles performing traffic control/direction duties. This applies to both on-duty and extra-duty work shifts. Supervisors are required to ensure officers are always in compliance.
While all their patrol vehicles are equipped with standard road flares, WPBPD issues night shift patrol sergeants electronic power flares that are battery-powered LED emergency flares for safer traffic direction and control at night. They are magnetic and can be either mounted on the side of a patrol vehicle or placed on the ground to get motorists' attention and can be set in steady mode to direct traffic around hazards and crash scenes.
When working a crash or outdoor crime scene in a very poorly lit area, WPBPD provides officers with access to scene lighting in order to enhance officer safety while working those scenes. The department utilizes a PELICAN 9440 RALS battery-powered scene lighting system, as well as having officers wear the wear the detachable Guardian Angel Light. This is an LED lighting system that weighs three ounces and is designed to be mounted on the shoulder lapel of an officer and is visible from miles.
To clear crash scenes more quickly, the department uses the FARO® 3D laser crime and accident scene scanner to expedite documentation of the scene and minimizes officer time spent in the roadway.
For Emergency Vehicle Operations Training (EVOT), the department uses a local college police academy driving pad for annual in-service driving training. The training includes pursuit and non-pursuit driver training.
The Department has a comprehensive pursuit policy and officers are initially trained on it during field training and retrained on it annually. All pursuits go before the department’s Pursuit Review Board. The purpose of the review board is to reward good behavior and change risky behavior. The WPBPD also has a strict crash review procedure to determine fault in any collision involving a departmental vehicle and to address negligent operation of a vehicle.
When conducting traffic enforcement, all officers are required to provide their location, the vehicle description and number of occupants before contacting the operator. The officers are trained to use a passenger-side approach on all high traffic and/or high-speed roadways.
The new WPBPD patrol vehicles have been up fitted with the latest in emergency lighting and warning technology. The LED emergency lighting system integrates to the vehicles computer allowing officers to be hands free. The LED emergency lighting system automatically [and temporarily] shuts off all lights on the driver's and/or passenger side of the vehicle when the doors are opened, so as not to obscure the officer's vision, increasing officer safety.
All their patrol vehicles are also equipped with an automated vehicle locator system or (AVL). In the event an officer is not responding to their radio and the communications center does not have them out at a specific location, dispatch personnel can pull up their location via the AVL and immediately dispatch personnel to ensure officer safety. The AVL system is also set up to send out speeding threshold alerts. The Lieutenant of the officer operating at high speed, must explain why they were driving more than the established threshold.
WPBPD tracks its crashes and in 2020 its officers were involved in 118 crashes and in 2021, reduced its total number of crashes.