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Petaluma Police Department Traffic Unit
The mission of the Traffic Unit is to reduce property damage, injuries and deaths caused by traffic collisions in the community. Preventative patrols, pro-active enforcement, community education, analysis of traffic collision data, investigation of traffic collisions and active problem solving are used to accomplish this mission.
About the Traffic Unit
The Traffic Team uses a balanced and proven philosophy of enforcement, engineering, and education solutions to improve safety and reduce collisions. The Traffic Team conducts several community presentations and media releases to educate citizens about traffic laws, traffic hazards and common traffic violations that cause collisions. The team also announces enforcement operations to warn road users of the upcoming enforcement operation to increase the level of safety through public awareness. The Traffic Team consists of a full-time Motorcycle Sergeant, four full-time Motorcycle Officers, one full-time Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officer, one full-time DUI Enforcement Officer, two full-time and one part-time Parking Enforcement Officers. The Traffic Team is also responsible for the Departments Tow Franchise Agreement (TFA). This includes tow hearings, tow complaints, and collection of cost recovery fees related to stored and impounded vehicles. Other responsibilities of the Traffic Team include managing and participating in the Traffic Advisory Committee, reviewing DUI cost recovery claims, maintenance of all traffic related equipment, collection and dissemination of traffic complaints and training department personnel on new laws and the operation of traffic equipment. Officers assigned to the Traffic Team work closely with Traffic Engineering and Community Development, and neighborhood groups to improve traffic safety issues. The Traffic Team actively participates in traffic safety programs such as Lights on for Life, Child Safety Seat Week, Safe Routes to School, Every 15 Minutes, Bicycle Rodeos, Polly Klaas Safety Fair, MADD and school traffic safety presentations.
Since 2008, the Traffic Team has managed the AVOID the 13 Sonoma County DUI Task Force. This task force focuses on reducing fatal and injury DUI crashes during special holiday periods with statistically high DUI collisions. These involve Superbowl Sunday, St. Patrick's Day, Cinco De Mayo, Memorial Day Weekend, Independence Day Weekend, the two week period leading up to the end of summary for Labor Day Weekend and the Winter Holiday period for Christmas and New Years.
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The Traffic Team has been recognized by the California Office of Traffic Safety and the Automobile Association of America (AAA) as a leader in traffic safety best practices. Since 2007, the Traffic Safety Program in Petaluma has been recognized by the California Highway Patrol and the California Office of Traffic Safety California law Enforcement Challenge as a model traffic safety program for other agencies to follow. We have been ranked in the top three Police Department's of our size every year by CLEC officials and we have held the honor as the best police department addressing impaired driving enforcement and education in the entire State of California for 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. In 2009, the Department was recognized as having the best impaired driving enforcement program in the entire county from the National Law Enforcement Challenge officials.
Due to the hard work and dedication of traffic safety law enforcement officials in Petaluma, the California Office of Traffic Safety has awarded the City of Petaluma with more than $3,000,000 in traffic safety grants to improve safety. For additional information on grant funded projects in the City of Petaluma please refer to the City of Petaluma Annual Report.
The charts below are excerps from the State of California's Department of Motor Vehicles web site. Please look there for more information.
Online Payments and to Contest a Citation/ticket -
(If your citation was hand-written, please allow up to two weeks for the payment system to upload your citation). To file an appeal/contest online within the time limits (look on your ticket). For parking citation appeals forms - Placard Citation Review and Parking Citation Review and Appeal Instructions (non-placard)
This condensed version of the City of Petaluma Municipal Code Book was designed to assist officers of the Petaluma Police Department and citizens of the community as a quick reference for the most commonly used sections of the code.
Towing Franchise AgreementStorage/Impound Hearing: Under the provisions of Sections 14602.6 and 14607.6 of the Vehicle Code, you have the right to a hearing to determine the legality of this storage. If you choose to contest the legality of this storage, you must request the hearing in writing, in person or by telephone by contacting Petaluma Police Department, Serious Traffic Offender Program (STOP) at 707.778.4455. Generally, Post Storage Hearings are conducted at the Police Department on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 12:00pm and 2:00pm. The vehicle storage hearing is an informal process to determine whether or not a vehicle has been stored legally. The hearing is not a forfeiture hearing. Your request for a storage hearing must be received within ten (10) working days after the date the vehicle was impounded. Your failure to request or attend a hearing shall satisfy the Post-Storage Validity requirements of Section 14607.6 of the Vehicle Code. If the hearing determines the storage to be unlawful, the storing agency will be responsible for the towing and storage charges. If you have any questions, or if you were not the registered owner of this vehicle at the time of impoundment, please contact this office.
Personal Property: If you have personal property in the vehicle, you can obtain a Property Release Form from the Police Department with appropriate identification. The property release is free of charge and there will be no charge to retrieve your property at the storage facility during normal business hours. Outside of normal business hours (8:00am to 5:00pm) the storage facility may charge an after hours gate fee to retrieve property. Personal property is defined as that property in the vehicle that is not attached to the vehicle. You will not be able to remove items such as stereo systems, speakers, wheels, etc. Personal property will only be released to the registered or legal owner, or their agent. Effective 9/18/06, the administrative fee for a vehicle release from the Petaluma Police Department is $140.00. Contact the Tow Company
Downtown Tow (707) 778-9100
Petaluma Tow (707) 765-2393
American Tow (707) 762-1056 For more information, please call (707) 778-4372 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want to report a complaint about suspected traffic violations in your neighborhood, call (707) 776-3775 (voicemail only) or complete the form at the link below. It will be emailed to our STOP office. We usually read email every day.
Motorized Scooter Information and California Vehicle Code
The police department has received an abundance of calls regarding motorized scooters. Many parents are under the belief that their children are able to ride motorized scooters to and from school and around their neighborhoods. In order to educate parents and children on the safe operation of the motorized scooters, please distribute this to your children. This letter is to inform you that California Vehicle Code Section 21235, subsections (a) through (j), outline the operation of a motorized scooter.
Under California Law, the following should be observed when operating a motorized scooter: (Effective January 1, 2000)
VC 21235 -An operator of a motorized scooter shall not do any of the following:
- Operate a motorized scooter unless it is equipped with a brake that will enable the operator to make a braked wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement.
- Operate a motorized scooter on a highway with a speed limit in excess of 25 miles per hour miles per hour unless the motorized scooter is operated within a class II bicycle lane.
- Operate a motorized scooter without wearing a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet that meets the standards described in Section 21212.
- Operate a motorized scooter when the operator is under the age of 16 years.
- Operate a motorized scooter with any passengers in addition to the operator.
- Operate a motorized scooter carrying any package, bundle, or article that prevents the operator from keeping at least one hand upon the handlebars.
- Operate a motorized scooter upon any sidewalk, except as may be necessary to enter or leave adjacent property.
- Operate a motorized scooter on the highway with the handlebars raised so that the operator must elevate his or her hands above the level of his or her shoulders in order to grasp the normal steering grip area.
- Leave a motorized scooter lying on its side on any sidewalk, or park a motorized scooter on a sidewalk in any other position, so that there is not an adequate path for pedestrian traffic.
- Attach the motorized scooter or himself or herself while on the roadway, by any means, to another vehicle on the roadway.
Please keep the above listed section in mind when deciding whether or not to purchase or allow your child to ride a motorized scooter. A violation of this section could result in a citation to appear in court.
For more information, call us at (707 778-4372 or email us at email@example.com.
What qualifies as an Abandoned Vehicle?
A vehicle left parked on a city street or on private or public property that is missing major components that render the vehicle inoperable (CVC22669), or a vehicle left parked on the street for more than 72 hours (PMC11.40.060).
How do I report an Abandoned Vehicle?
A phone call is the most expeditious way to report an abandoned vehicle. You can call the main Police Department number at (707) 778-4373 and tell the call taker you want to report an abandoned vehicle. They will take your information and enter the call for service into the computer aided dispatch (CAD) system. This computer record is checked each morning by the Community Service Officer (CSO) or the Abandoned Vehicle Abatement (AVA) Officer. They will then go out and investigate and either mark, cite, and/or tow the vehicle. You can also email the Traffic Team and the same process will be followed once the CAD entry is made. Emails to the Traffic Team are checked weekly and a phone call is the quickest way to start the process.
What is the process for removal of an Abandoned Vehicles?
For 72 hour violations, the vehicle is marked and then sometime after 72 hours has passed, the officer will come back and check to see if the vehicle was moved at least one half mile before returning to the same area to be parked. If not moved, the vehicle will be cited and towed. If the vehicle is missing any major component parts and is parked on the street, it will be towed immediately. If the vehicle is on private property, an abatement process will be initiated and after due process, the vehicle will be towed if the problem is not abated.
EMERGENCY cell phone calls: 707.762.2727
Patrick Williams, Chief of Police
969 Petaluma Blvd. North
Petaluma, CA 94952
To submit a commendation or to
report possible officer misconduct,
Code Enforcement 707.778.4469
Graffiti Hotline 707.776.3606
Property & Evidence 707.778.4328
Mental Health Resources
Report Habitual DUI Offenders 707.778.4335
Traffic Complaints (Voice Mail) 707.776.3775
Monday – Thursday, 8AM - 5PM