22.00.180     TRAFFIC CONTROL      (CALEA 61.3.1, 3.2)


The City and the Department are committed to providing safe driving conditions for citizens traveling on city streets.  To support this philosophy, the Traffic Unit and City Traffic Engineering Department will work cooperatively to identify and address traffic operation concerns and deficiencies.  Police will regularly forward traffic concerns, of both officers and citizens, in the form of Citizen Action Request Forms to the Traffic Engineering office for review and response.


Copies of all traffic collisions documented by the Department will be forwarded to Traffic Engineering.  These reports will be entered into a database twice a month and assist in generating Bellevue's Annual Accident Study.  The data generated will also assist in numerous accident reduction projects designed and implemented through the Traffic Engineering Department.


Incident scenes


The assigned/investigating officer will determine traffic direction and control.  Flares, traffic cones, and portable signs will be deployed as needed.  Additional officers will be requested as needed.  The Streets Department will be notified for additional cones or barricades, as needed, for scene and traffic control.


When traffic control procedures are required at the scene of a blocking collision, the investigating officer(s) will assess the situation and request extra officers and/or equipment necessary to protect the scene.


If traffic control is necessary for an extended period of time, an on-duty supervisor will arrange for officer relief every two hours.  The on-duty Watch Commander will be notified to assess the need of notifying the PIO or media directly.


Manual Traffic Control


Officers assigned to conduct traffic control will utilize uniform traffic control signals and gestures.  The signals can be either hand signals or whistle signals, or a combination of both.


Hand Signals


v      Stop Signal


Upraised hand at the end of an extended arm raised to well above shoulder level, with the palm of the hand clearly facing the approaching driver for whom the signal is intended.


v      Starting Signal


Signaling a stopped vehicle to start moving begins at shoulder level, with the officer extending their arm toward the stopped vehicle (pointing) and waving the car onward by bending their arm at the elbow and drawing their hand toward their chest.  Once traffic in one direction starts to move, the officer turns and faces opposing traffic and delivers the same signal.


v      Pull Up Signal


Signaling a driver to pull up to a position at an intersection is usually reserved for turning traffic facing opposing vehicular or pedestrian traffic.  The officer points to the position at which the driver should pull their vehicle.  It is completed by motioning the driver forward to the selected position.  If possible, keep the pointing hand and arm in position, to hold the turning vehicle until conditions are safe for the turning movement.


v      Turning Traffic


Opposing traffic should be stopped using the standard stop signal.  When it is safe for the vehicle under direction to turn, the officer motions the left turning vehicle to complete its turn by making a come-along signal with the other hand.  Right turning traffic requires little traffic direction unless the turning movement is crossing a heavily traveled crosswalk or has to merge into heavy vehicular traffic.


Whistle Signals


v      Stop Signal


A single long blast


v      Start Signal


Two short blasts


v      Emergency Stop


Three or more short blasts


Reflective Vests


Except during the initial period required to stabilize an emergency situation, officers, engaged in traffic control or accident scene analysis in the roadway, are required to wear a Department issued orange reflective vest.


During inclement weather, rain or snow, in lieu of the reflective vest, officers may wear the Department issued raincoat with orange portion on outside for visibility and to take advantage of reflective markings.


Temporary Traffic Control Devices


Temporary traffic control devices may be utilized when traffic signals are inoperable, during special events, or in circumstances deemed necessary by the on scene officer or, the shift supervisor.  Special signs and other portable signs are available from the Streets Department and may be requested at any time.


If a traffic signal must be operated manually, a signal technician should be notified as soon as possible.  If after hours, NORCOM maintains a list of “on call” signal personnel.


Fire Scenes and Other Emergencies


Officers assigned to traffic control at fire scenes will be responsible for assuring that roadways in the area are accessible to all emergency vehicles.  The officer assigned to a fire scene may close roads as necessary to facilitate the expeditious response of emergency vehicles.  Officers will continue traffic control until the conclusion of the incident or until properly relieved by another officer.


Officers will direct traffic in emergency situations created by adverse road and weather conditions.  The traffic must be manually directed until the problem is resolved, or until temporary traffic controls are put in place.


The first officer at the scene of an emergency situation will advise NORCOM of the problem and them to contact the appropriate agency needed to resolve the problem.  The officer will also request any emergency services that may be required.