In Happy Valley, traffic enforcement is important to ensuring the safety and flow of movement throughout the community. Happy Valley Police proactively address and anticipate traffic concerns and respond to challenges on a daily basis. By enforcing traffic regulations, deputies not only deter unsafe driving behaviors, but also contribute to the overall well-being of residents and visitors to the City. Through these efforts, law enforcement aims to create an environment where everyone can navigate the city’s roadways with confidence, fostering a safer and more harmonious community for all.

The Happy Valley Police Department currently has two dedicated traffic enforcement deputies that patrol City streets. This designation began in 2017 following an influx of crash data and emergency calls that demonstrated the need for more focused interventions. At the time, the city was reviewing well over 100 crashes per year. Having dedicated traffic deputies allowed for more targeted outreach, specifically with respect to cracking down on behaviors like speeding, tailgating, distracted driving, DUII, and running red lights.

Given most residents know a law enforcement vehicle when they see one, it can be difficult to target problematic behaviors unless the deputy can actively witness them. That’s why, in 2019, to further address these types of problem behaviors, the traffic deputy was assigned an unmarked vehicle. This helped to significantly disrupt many of the driving habits that were leading to collisions and injuries.

In 2022, the City’s primary traffic deputy was provided the opportunity to train on a motorcycle. Another way to help target dangerous driving habits, motorcycles are considered an important asset for traffic officers given their ease of maneuverability and efficiency in responding to such situations as heavy congestion or spaces that can’t accommodate a regular vehicle.

When traffic deputies are patrolling, they are scanning the roads and keeping safety in mind. Things like speeding, running red lights, erratic driving, and drivers holding a cell phone are easily spotted and are likely to precipitate a traffic stop given their likelihood for harm should a crash occur as a result. They use both radar and LiDAR, a sensing method that uses light for speed enforcement and spend most of their time in areas where traffic crashes happen most frequently. This way, they can focus on areas that have a tendency for challenges and intercept them more easily.

The City’s traffic deputies are also trained to keep an eye out for other violations, such as illegal modifications made to cars, such as overly tinted windows or loud exhausts, and even vehicles exceeding maximum weight limits on City local roads.

Safety in school zones, especially at drop off and pick up has historically been of major concern for families and school administration in Happy Valley. To address this, the primary traffic deputy, along with other members of Happy Valley Police and even the City’s Community Service Officers have put great effort into problem-solving potential remedies.

People stopping in no parking zones during drop off and pick up is another concern, yet from a traffic deputy perspective, there are significant concerns with the ongoing tendency for people to speed and use their cellphones while driving. As a result, traffic enforcement deputies have been diligent about educating the public about the dangers of distracted driving.

Another way Happy Valley Police reinforces safety in school zones is by teaming up with the City to help facilitate crosswalk enforcement exercises. It is important to note that exercises like this are not meant to trick or trap drivers into being issued a ticket. Instead, the goal is to be very transparent and deliberate in communicating to drivers that enforcement is happening. Safety cones are set up in advance of the designated crosswalks and bright notification signs alert drivers to the scene. These types of events ultimately serve to increase safety for everyone using the roads by bringing deliberate attention to the cause.

Comprised of City residents and liaisons from City Council, the City’s Traffic and Public Safety Committee is tasked with advising City Council on a variety of safety priorities and related programs. To do this, the group works closely with City staff, Community Service Officers, Clackamas Fire District # 1, and the Happy Valley Police to help shape service delivery and better understand resident needs. Their efforts often help reduce traffic accidents, promote pedestrian safety, and foster a sense of security among residents and local businesses.

From explanations about local traffic engineering studies to general safety topics affecting residents, these opportunities are educational, eye-opening, and often excellent ways to join the City’s collective efforts in keeping Happy Valley a safe place to live, work, and play. These consistent updates and presentations ultimately allow the committee to convey the urgency and importance of various traffic and safety initiatives when it comes to seeking the Council’s support and funding.

The Committee has worked on several pedestrian and motorist safety improvements throughout the City, as well as partnered with the school district to address relevant traffic concerns. The Committee is also vital to discussions related to Happy Valley’s Public Safety Levy, which is voted on by residents every five years. Their work has been instrumental in ensuring the City’s contract with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office remains not only fiscally responsible, but up to par when it comes to the needs of residents.

Committee meetings are open to the public. Learn more at the Committee’s designated webpage.

Periodically, the Happy Valley Police and Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office collaborate seamlessly in conducting coordinated traffic enforcement exercises. These events demonstrate a proactive approach to addressing dangerous driving habits, particularly the prevalent issue of speeding on frequently traveled roads.

These joint enforcement events serve as a crucial deterrent against reckless driving behaviors while also fostering a sense of community awareness. The collaboration doesn’t solely focus on punitive measures, rather it embraces a comprehensive approach to education. Deputies often utilize these encounters as opportunities for teachable moments, emphasizing safe driving practices and the potential consequences of dangerous behavior on the road. This approach not only contributes to enhanced public safety, but also fosters a positive relationship between law enforcement and the community, emphasizing the shared commitment to creating a secure and responsible driving environment.