What are the Duties of the Traffic Officer?

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  • 0:01 Traffic Officers
  • 0:48 Duties of the Traffic Officer
  • 2:21 Role in the Community
  • 3:33 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

Traffic officers are integral members of police departments, with a very specialized focus. In this lesson, explore the duties of the traffic officer and test your understanding with a brief quiz.

Traffic Officers

Oh boy, look there's an accident on the road. This can really back things up. Luckily, the police are prepared to handle this. And here we go. This is Officer Jane Study. She is a traffic officer, a specialized police officer responsible for traffic-related incidents. Traffic officers are fully trained, sworn-in members of the police, but instead of dealing with crime, they are focused specifically on roads and the people on those roads. It's an important job. You may have noticed, but our roads are in pretty high demand. We use them a lot, so maintaining road safety and efficiency is kind of important to our daily lives. Tell you what, let's follow Officer Study here for a day and see what being a traffic officer is really all about.

Duties of the Traffic Officer

In many senses, traffic officers are really responsible for making sure that the roads keep running. Like I said, we use our roads a lot, and the position of traffic officer was really created to help police patrols manage all of the things that happen on the roads. Let's watch Officer Study as she performs some of the more visible aspects of her job.

Okay, here's that traffic accident. If there were major injuries, loss of life, or criminal activity, then this would be an issue for patrol police officers, but there are none of these things, so Officer Study can take care of it. She assists the drivers in getting their vehicles to the side of the road, takes reports on the incident, ensures that tow trucks are on their way, and in this case, with all of this broken glass, also closes down part of the road and directs traffic until a cleanup crew arrives. Without Officer Study, either one of two things would have happened here. Another police officer who is involved in a criminal raid would have to stop what they're working on and come over here, or nobody would be taking care of this and traffic would be an absolute mess. Nice work, Officer Study.

Now, that's only one part of Officer Study's job. She has a lot of behind-the-scenes duties as well. In general, she needs to monitor the roadways for potential risks and areas of improvement. She also makes sure that traffic signs are where they should be, completes reports on traffic statistics for the city, educates the public on new rules or safety guidelines, and oversees the administration of federal traffic and highways grants and other resources. Whew, we've been busy, is it time for a doughnut break yet?

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