Traffic Unit
Traffic Unit
Traffic Unit

The Traffic Unit is a line of support that provides technical expertise to the department in the areas of accident investigation, drunk and/or impaired driving detection and arrest and the operation of speed detection Doppler and Laser Radar. This unit is responsible for the investigation of all serious and fatal motor vehicle accidents that occur within the city limits. The Unit investigates citizen complaints of speeding vehicles, illegal parking and other traffic related issues.

The Unit facilitates the planning and coordination of security, police escorts and/or crowd control for over 80 special events each year.


Speed and Traffic Enforcement

The Traffic Unit’s primary responsibility is the enforcement of Des Moines’ speeding and other traffic regulations. Officer’s use Doppler and Laser radar on the residential streets as well as the main arteries and the interstate highways that go through Des Moines. Officers try to concentrate their enforcement efforts at the busier locations or known problems to make the streets of Des Moines safer for the residents and visitors.

Accident Investigation

Officers within the Traffic Unit possess varying skill levels of accident investigation that range from Advanced Investigator to Reconstructionist. The Traffic Investigators are relied upon to investigate fatal and serious injury accidents. The reconstructionists also assist the Detective Bureau in recreating scenes involving death investigations and other serious crimes.

Hit and Run Investigations

 Each year there are approximately 1700 hit and run accidents within the City of Des Moines. The Unit has an investigator following up on those cases with any leads. This follow-up includes interviewing witnesses and people involved in the accident, reviewing surveillance cameras of where accidents may have occurred, examining the physical evidence left at the scene of the accident, and other investigative methods.

OWI / Drug Recognition Testing

All traffic officers are certified to detect and apprehend drivers under the influence of alcohol. The Unit has three officers trained and certified as Drug Recognition Experts, skilled in identifying drivers under the influence of drugs or narcotics.

Parking Enforcement
Parking Enforcement Vehicle

The Traffic Unit has a fourth squad which consists of a sergeant, one officer, one cadet and civilian parking enforcement personnel. This squad is responsible for the following:

All parking meter enforcement

Parking Regulation/Zone enforcement

Enforcement of all City Parking Permits (approximately 850 issued each year)

Assist with Traffic Control, as needed, for special events

Target habitual parking violators

Interact with neighborhood associations to target abandoned vehicles within their neighborhood and any other chronic parking problem

The squad is a valuable asset in relieving patrol officers from responding to these calls.

The Patrol Support Unit is supervised by a Sergeant.

To pay a Parking Fine: Click Here

To appeal a Parking Fine: Click Here

Crossing Guards

The Traffic Unit has an Officer that coordinates the Des Moines School's Crossing Guard Program. There are nearly 40 guards who are employed by the City of Des Moines and are responsible for 23 schools within the City. The Officer is responsible for the hiring/firing of the guards, calculating the guard's payroll, providing their equipment, uniforms, work schedules and ensuring their performance is meeting standards.


Special Events and Parades

 The Traffic Unit has an Officer assigned to be responsible for coordinating all Special Events occurring within the City Of Des Moines. The nature of the events varies from Drake Relays, State Fair activities, parades and fun runs to Presidential and dignitary visitations warranting special escorts and security.