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Police FAQs



Impounded Vehicles

Outside Assignments




The CodeRED database contains information received from public databases, including regional phonebooks. However, no resident should assume that their information is in the system. The home page of the Oro Valley website,, has a link to the CodeRED Community Notification Enrollment page where you can register online. If you cannot register online, you can call 520-229-4927 and speak with one of our communications specialists to complete your registration over the telephone.

• If your contact information has changed and you have not registered your new information.
• If you only have a landline at your residence, the power is out and you did not register an alternate phone number.
• If your line is busy for an extended time and your calls do not forward to voicemail or an answering machine. 
• If you have a privacy manager on your main phone and you did not register an alternate phone number.

Oro Valley will receive a report of undelivered calls and can instruct the CodeRED system to begin another round of calls to busy numbers. It is best to have an alternate phone number in the calling database for these situations.

If the line is busy, CodeRED will try two more times to connect.

Yes, the CodeRED system will leave a message on a machine or on voicemail. The CodeRED system will leave the entire message in one pass.

Make sure you have at least one working corded telephone – and be sure to turn the ringer on. The CodeRED sign-up form allows you to indicate both a primary and alternate phone number. Cell phone and/or work phone numbers can be entered as alternate phone numbers. Both primary and alternate phone numbers will be contacted when a notification is sent.

Listen carefully to the entire message. You will have the option to repeat the message by pressing any key. Do not call 911 for further information unless directed to do so or if you need immediate aid from the police or fire department.

A CodeRED Emergency message will have a caller ID of 866-419-5000. A CodeRED General message will have a caller ID 855-969-4636. We suggest you program both numbers in your cell phone as a “new contact” and use “CodeRED Emergency” and “CodeRED General” as the contact name. If you need to replay the emergency notification message again, simply dial the number and you will be able to hear the message again.

CodeRED is a service of Emergency Communications Network which takes security and privacy concerns very seriously. They will not sell, trade, lease or loan any data citizen supplied data to third parties.

After you submit the initial registration form, you may start the registration process again and submit more numbers for the same address.

Yes. Fill out the CodeRED registration form but be sure to select the “This address is a business” option. Please note that emergency calls can only be delivered to a direct dial number. Automated attendants will disrupt the process and the calls will not be delivered. Businesses should register their main number and establish a procedure for distributing the CodeRED message to their workforce.

This system is an enhancement to existing means of communication and is meant to supplement current or past systems used for mass notification.

Any message regarding the safety, property or welfare of the community will be disseminated using the CodeRED system. These may include AMBER alerts, notifications of hazardous traffic or road conditions, boil water advisories or evacuation notices.

CodeRED is an emergency notification service that allows emergency officials to notify residents and businesses by telephone, cell phone, text message, email and social media regarding time-sensitive general and emergency notifications. Only authorized officials have access to the CodeRED system.


The Town of Oro Valley constantly explores opportunities to receive grant funding in various and unpredictable amounts. In order to accept this funding, the capacity needs to be included in the budget to accept and spend these additional revenues. These monies are incorporated into the budget; however, it is at no cost to the Town.

The OVPD take-home vehicle program began prior to December 3, 1985. When the Chief of Police identifies the benefit of assigning a specific unit or individual with a take-home-vehicle, the vehicle is assigned. The following considerations are accounted for when issuing take-home vehicles:

  • Members are subject to on-call responsibilities
  • Reduce response times to critical incidents
  • Geographical location of members’ duty stations
  • Operational necessity based on assignment
  • Enhanced supervision and service audit capabilities

Other agencies reviewed and studied their successful take-home vehicle programs and determined the common themes OVPD has, these include:

Crime Prevention: Criminals are less likely to commit crimes in a neighborhood where a marked police vehicle is parked. Residents feel safer due to the “billboard effect”.

Cars Last Longer/Cost Less: Five to six years is the typical life span of a 24/7 police car used by several officers. Take-home cars have an expected life expectancy of seven years minimum. There is an approximate 5% increase each year for the purchase of a new vehicle and associated equipment. Additionally, each time a vehicle is built-out to specifications, there is a measurable cost for the labor of each task performed.

Currently, members with take-home vehicles are responsible to coordinate and schedule the service of his/her assigned vehicle. To date, one employee is responsible for the scheduling and coordination of all non take-home vehicles. Absent the take-home vehicle program, the fleet maintenance employee’s workload would increase beyond the ability of one individual. At a minimum, this would require the hiring of a part-time employee to assist in the maintenance and upkeep of the fleet.

A Sense of Ownership: History dictates members generally take better care of cars personally assigned to them, which also increases morale and can be a recruitment tool. During an August 6, 2008 study session on Police Recruitment and Retention, it was suggested by Town Council that the Police Department complete a recruitment and retention survey to identify what is important to our officers. The results of the survey indicated a take-home vehicle program was the most popular strategy. Since police recruiters are drawing from the same applicant pool, it is important that candidates consider every facet of employment.

It is easier to hold an individual accountable then multiple people using the same vehicle. Additionally, the fleet looks better, the professional projection of OVPD is bolstered and accountability is increased.

Overtime is Decreased Almost Daily: Members with take-home vehicles can respond to calls on their way to work, allowing members already on duty to leave at their scheduled time. If they did not have take-home vehicles, this would create overtime by holding over the scheduled shift. The alternative would be to “stack” calls for service causing delayed responses until the oncoming shift is available. Calls for services include motor vehicle accidents, emergency calls in progress, etc.

Quicker Response and Preparedness to Critical Incidents: Every member with a take-home vehicle, including officers assigned to critical response units, can respond from home at anytime with all the needed equipment. Without a take-home car, members must respond to the station first (perhaps passing the incident location or being stuck in traffic), locate a vehicle, gather equipment, load equipment and then respond. In critical situations, such as barricaded persons, shootings, explosive device threats, manhunts, etc., swift workforce deployment is vital when minutes count.

Lastly, and Perhaps the Most Important to Many People: It saves tax dollars! Figures studied by agencies, such as Galloway Township Police Department, Tacoma Washington Police Department and Golf Coast University’s Southwest Center for Public and Social Policy, published findings of take-home vehicles. The studies focused on take-home vehicles versus pool vehicles. All the studies found take-home vehicles were less expensive than operating pooled vehicles. The studies also cited much of the same benefits the Town receives with the current Police Department Take-Home Vehicle program. OVPD take-home vehicles cost on average 25% less to operate than pool vehicles.

It is true there may be added expenses with fuel and extra miles when the employee drives to and from their residence; however, many times, the benefits mentioned produce an overall savings. In conclusion, a take-home vehicle provides a higher level of service and higher level of safety to the community.

Yes. The Oro Valley’s Citizen Volunteer Assistants Program (CVAP) members fingerprint citizens.  For more informcation, please click on Fingerprinting.

The Magistrate Court collects citation fines and disburses the revenue as Arizona State law mandates. A majority of the fines are disbursed to the State of Arizona. The remaining funds are provided to the Town to offset the Court’s budget. It remains a constant misconception that writing citations is a profit-making venture for the Town. Traffic citations are used to modify driving behavior, which promotes public safety on Oro Valley roadways.

The success of this project depends largely upon the cooperating jurisdictions throughout Pima County. It is important to strategically place the required equipment throughout the region in accordance with the technical developers. The site at OVPD was chosen for the ability to provide adequate coverage to the terrain in the northwest portion of Pima County and the proximal distance to appropriate technological infrastructure.

The monopole tower located at the Oro Valley Police Department was constructed to support the Pima County Wireless Integrated Network (PCWIN). The mission of the PCWIN project is to design, procure, deploy and operate a countywide public safety voice communications network; improve public safety radio interoperability; and to design, construct and operate a countywide communication center and emergency operations center.

Interoperability has been heightened as a nationwide concern since the national terrorist attacks of 9/11. Public safety agencies across the state are often hampered in communications with one another because they are not on the same bandwidth or frequency in their operational communications. Arizona and its counties have tried to address this dilemma for nearly a decade. Jurisdictions within Pima County recognized the need to put a system in place that allowed police, sheriff, emergency and fire entities, municipal and county jurisdictions to be able to communicate with one another. PCWIN is intended to provide this ability through the platform system that County voters approved.

No, Oro Valley does not have any speed detection or red light cameras. Many citizens have noted the small white cameras mounted on top of the traffic signal posts. The cameras do not detect speed or check for red light violations. The purpose of the camera is to facilitate traffic in the intersection. The live picture is linked to the traffic signal box. When vehicles enter the area monitored by the camera, it tells the light that there is a need to cycle. This technology has moved traffic management forward. It allows the traffic light to cycle based on the traffic needs at the time, as opposed to being set to cycle on a timed loop.

No, CVAP members are not trained to enforce any traffic laws. We rely on our CVAP members to be extra eyes and ears while on patrol and report anything that may need an officer’s attention. In addition, they assist in a variety of areas.

Citizen Volunteer Assistants Program (CVAP) provides the opportunity for active adult citizens to serve their community by assisting the Oro Valley Police Department in non-emergency situations.

Volunteers are an effective visual crime deterrent by patrolling residential neighborhoods, business complexes and shopping centers. They provide officers with assistance at accidents, incidents and events. Volunteers routinely help citizens needing directions or assisting after their vehicle breaks down. They utilize a patrol car equipped with a License Plate Reader that detects stolen vehicles, stolen license plates, warrants and missing people. The Volunteers also have members on a call out team that are contacted when patrol officers need their assistance at a scene. They have been called out for incidents including gas leaks, neighborhood evacuations as well as fatal traffic accidents. During Oro Valley events such as El Tour De Tucson, Holiday Parade, Halloween Safe Treats, Arizona Distance Classic, July 4th Celebration and IronKids Triathlon, the Volunteers provide assistance with setup, breakdown and traffic control.

Volunteers can be found assisting in the main police station and the Rancho Vistoso substation. They answer phone calls and assist citizens with general questions and directions. Volunteers assist Community Resource Officers with community presentations and community safety events. They also produce and tabulate Citizen Surveys, which are distributed to citizens by patrol officers, school resource officers, community resource officers and volunteers. The Citizen Survey's statistics are reported quarterly to the Chief’s Advisory Committee and are published on the Department’s website. The Volunteers manage the Police Department’s public fingerprinting program. Other special assignments include assisting the Town’s Fleet Mechanic, computing collision statistics for the Department’s Motor/Traffic Unit, updating the citation sanction envelopes for the Oro Valley Magistrate Court, Video ID and the Darkhouse programs.

The Volunteers are an invaluable resource to the Police Department, the Town and the community. For additional information, please visit our CVAP webpage.

The Oro Valley Police Department provides 24 hour a day police services. An Oro Valley dispatcher will answer the phone any time, day or night, if you call 911. You can also reach communications personnel by dialing the non-emergency number, (520) 229-4900, and follow the automated prompts.

The office hours of the Police Department are Monday – Friday from 8 am - 5 pm. If you need to speak with Records, Property and ID or any member of Command Staff, please do so during office hours.

If you come to the Police Department before 8 am or after 5 pm and need to speak to an officer, please go to the Department’s north lobby. The north lobby is open 24 hours; however, it is not staffed. There is a phone inside the north lobby for you to call communications personnel and they will contact an officer for you. There are signs posted on the exterior of the Police Department’s building to direct you to the north lobby.

The Oro Valley Police Department has a policy that outlines discipline for officers who do not appear in court. If you have received a civil or traffic citation and the officer does not appear in court, the citation may be dismissed. If you are appearing in court on a criminal matter, not related to traffic laws, and the officer does not appear, the case will continue if the prosecutor can prove the case with other witnesses or victims in the case. If the officer’s testimony is important to the case, the prosecutor may request a continuance or dismiss the case.

Forensic evidence consists of items of evidentiary value not immediately visible at a crime scene. For example, items touched or used by a possible suspect may contain DNA or fingerprints. Fingerprints may only be obtained from a smooth surface.

If forensic evidence is present, specially trained technicians collect it and it is sent to a crime lab for further analysis. Once laboratory evidence is obtained, it is used to scientifically connect a suspect to the crime.

For example, a recent case illustrated how forensic evidence can help solve a case. During an investigation, a series of reports indicated that a suspect entered female tenant apartments who were not home and performed illegal sexual acts. Forensic evidence collected at the scenes was able to identify a suspect. When an OVPD patrol officer arrested the suspect on an unrelated charge, detectives were able to use the forensic evidence to connect and charge the suspect with the crimes.

Police officers and detectives must "build" a case in order to charge someone with a crime. By law, to charge someone with a crime, police authorities require probable cause. This means a certain threshold of physical, testimonial or factual evidence must be obtained.

In some situations, active cases can take up to five business days to reach their assigned detective. In criminal cases, when there is no arrest at the crime scene, the evidence is presented to the criminal prosecutor; he/she then makes a determination on the charges to be filed.

A criminal case falls into the category of felony or misdemeanor. As with all criminal cases, the criminal prosecutor finalizes appropriate charges, and if the case is a felony, it is presented to a grand jury for indictment. If the prosecutor declines the case, based on either a lack of evidence or other factors, the case may be waived from a felony to a misdemeanor, or dismissed entirely.

A case report will memorialize the event as it was reported to the police. After a police officer takes your report, a sergeant or other supervising officer approves it. If there is no further information on any suspects, witnesses or investigative leads, the case is closed. A closed case could be reopened if new information is obtained. If the report requires followup outside the patrol division, it is sent to the criminal investigation unit to be assigned to a detective. Depending on the active caseload, some cases take several days for the assigned detective to followup. All cases are sent to the Records Division, regardless if it is closed or assigned to detective.

As with any case, there is the chance one event may connect to similar incidents. All cases are analyzed by the Department’s Crime Analyst to determine crime trends or patterns and other avenues of the investigation. Assigned cases are prioritized by crime severity, solvability and impact on the community.

All cases are retained physically and on electronic file with the Oro Valley Police Department’s Records Unit. Active cases will not be released until an arrest is made or the case is closed. If you need a copy of a case, it is generally available for dissemination within 7-10 business days. There is a fee of $5.00 for a case report (10 or less pages); any additional pages are $0.25. We accept cash, money order or a cashier’s check.

When you call 9-1-1 in Oro Valley, your call will be answered by a dispatcher in our Police Communications Bureau. Dispatchers are trained to ask specific questions in order to determine and ensure they notify the appropriate, needed emergency services, such as police, fire or medical. The information gathered (i.e. incident location) by the dispatcher is relayed to the officers, via radio and mobile computers, and assist them in determining their driving response, with the flow of traffic or with lights and siren.

Because you called 9-1-1, you are a valuable asset to the investigation, no matter how big or small the incident may seem. Dispatchers will ask for information such as clothing descriptions, suspect information and details of an incident while it is in your sight and/or fresh in your memory. Police officers rely on you because your descriptions and observations may play an important role in the apprehension of a suspect and court testimony.

Impounded Vehicles

No.  As long as the officer impounded your vehicle according to the law and our procedures, the outcome of any trial is not relevant.

You must meet the legal title and registration requirements before the vehicle can be returned to you.  This can be done through the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department.  If the vehicle is registered out of state, you must either register the vehicle in Arizona or deal with the state in which it is currently registered.

The registered owner of this vehicle is liable for towing fees, storage charges of not more than $15.00 per day and administrative fees of up to $150.00.  The administrative fee must be paid to the Oro Valley Police Department in the form of a cashier's check, money order or cash.  No credit cards or personal checks will be accepted.

The owner of the vehicle is responsible for paying all fees and charges in order to have the vehicle released.  If someone else was driving, you may have to seek civil action against the driver for any expenses you incur as a result of the impound.

The law requires that the vehicles impounded under this law be stored for a period of thirty (30) days before being released.

You may be eligible to have the vehicle released early only if you meet one of the following conditions or circumstances:

  • If the owner presents satisfactory proof that the owner’s driving privilege has been reinstated.  Note:  If this applies to you, a hearing is not needed.  You should simply bring proof that your license is now valid to the Oro Valley Police Department located at 11000 N. La Cañada Drive.
  • If the vehicle was reported stolen at the time it was impounded.
  • If the vehicle is subject to bailment and was being driven by an employee of a business establishment, including a parking service or repair garage, who is subject to ARS 28-3511-A or B.
  • IF ALL THE FOLLOWING APPLY – the owner or owner’s agent was not the person driving in violation at the time of the impound AND the owner or the owner’s agent is in a business of renting motor vehicles without drivers AND the vehicle is registered pursuant to ARS 28-2166.

No, an attorney is not needed.  The hearing process is information and rather brief.

No, there is no fee or charge for a hearing.

Generally, hearings are only for the purpose of contesting the impound.  In order to have your vehicle released prior to the 30 days required by law, you must be able to prove that certain special circumstances exist.

No.  Most people who do not meet one of the exemptions will not request or need a hearing.  If you get your license reinstated before the end of the 30-day period, you may be eligible to have your vehicle returned to you without a hearing.

We must receive your request for a hearing no later than ten (10) days from the date of the vehicle impoundment and may be done by phone.  If your request is received after the ten day time period, we will not grant you a hearing on this matter.
In most cases, you must wait 30 days before you can get your vehicle back.
You can ONLY arrange to have your vehicle released by contacting the Oro Valley Police Department.  The towing company CANNOT release the vehicle back to you without permission from the police department.
In some cases, you may be able to get your vehicle back before the end of the 30 days, but you may still have to pay all fees and charges.

If you do want a hearing, you may make a request to the Oro Valley Police Department in writing, in person or by telephone at 11000 N. La Cañada Drive or by calling (520) 229-4900.

Yes, but hearings are usually not needed.  Hearings are generally only needed if you are challenging the validity of the impound

On or after the 30th day of impound OR if you get your license reinstated earlier, your vehicle will generally be eligible for release to you.  To have it released, follow these steps: 

  • Come to the Oro Valley Police Department at 11000 N. La Cañada Drive between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.
  • Bring with you a valid driver’s license, valid registration AND proof of current insurance.  Please note: if your license is suspended, revoked, or cancelled, you may have to go to court or the Motor Vehicle Division first.  Your vehicle registration is invalid if it is expired or cancelled.  We cannot release your vehicle to you until these documents are valid and current.  Note:  if your driving privilege cannot be restored by the end of the 30-day impound period (for example, it has been suspended for one year), you may bring a fully licensed driver with you to drive the vehicle upon release.  You must still have a valid vehicle registration AND proof of current insurance before the vehicle will be released.
  • If the vehicle was impounded due to a motor vehicle accident, proof of current and valid registration, driver’s license and proof of current insurance are required.
  • You must pay the towing and storage fees at the towing company.  Payment is made directly to the towing company.  If you come to the tow yard at other than normal business hours, you may be charged a gate fee.  You must also present proof of your identity and ownership (title or registration) to the tow company.

No.  The towing company will not release an impounded vehicle without paperwork from the Oro Valley Police Department.  You must follow the claim process as outlined below.

Yes.  The owner is still liable for all towing and storage fees up to the actual date of release.

Yes.  The owner would have to prove that this had been corrected and their driving privileges reinstated, at which time we will release the vehicle.

An agent is someone who is legally entitled to act for you, such as your attorney or someone you have given legal power of attorney.  A friend or relative cannot be considered your agent unless they have notarized documentation giving them power of attorney.

Under the law, the owner, owner’s spouse, their agent or attorney, or lien holder are the only persons who can have the vehicle released.  If your vehicle was impounded because you did not have a valid license, and your license is still not valid at the end of the 30-day, you can bring someone with you who has a valid license in order to get your vehicle back.

Outside Assignments

Task force operations focus on collaboration, cooperation and synchronization of operation and unity of efforts that leverage all capabilities and resources of all agencies involved. The following FAQ pages are explanations of each task force, what they bring to the Oro Valley community, the financial impact on the Town’s budget and the financial enhancements that may be received. Also provided are examples how the Oro Valley community has benefited. The Town of Oro Valley has officers assigned to the following task forces:

  • Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA),
  • Counter Narcotics Alliance (CNA),
  • Gang and Immigration Intelligence Team Enforcement Mission (GIITEM) and
  • FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).

Anti-Racketeering funds are assets transferred to law enforcement agencies that participated in the investigation or prosecution of a criminal act. These assets may be monetary, property or proceeds of selling such property.

Federal Guidelines and Arizona Revised Statutes strictly regulate the use of Anti-Racketeering funds, also known as seizure funds. Seizure funds are often utilized to fund departmental necessities that are not funded through the approved Town budget. Examples of approved expenditures are inclusive of, but not limited to:

  • Member training / travel
  • Investigative support
  • Equipment purchase/maintenance
  • Community oriented policing programs
  • Gang and drug education and awareness for the community


The Oro Valley Police Department is a full service organization, dedicated to the prevention of crime, disorder and social harm. In order to be effective, there must be a balance of officers assigned to different units within the organization. To find the balance of the Traffic Unit, the command staff looks at several different factors, including, but not limited to the following:

  • historical information
  • traffic related statistics
  • public concern
  • schools
  • special events
  • traffic flow
  • traffic accidents
  • input from citizens & officers
  • make up of the Town
  • motorcycles’ ability to swiftly navigate to an incident through congested traffic

Citizen surveys consistently rate traffic issues in the top three areas of their concerns. The Department acknowledges that the citizens of Oro Valley want a proactive police department rather than to be a victim of a crime or being injured or killed in a traffic accident.

In 2005, the Department’s philosophy was confirmed when a Fresno, California study titled “Aggressive Traffic Enforcement” was completed by a group of health care professionals, including doctors and nurses. This study indicated aggressive traffic enforcement did reduce crime, traffic related injuries and fatalities. It also indicated that if there were reductions of aggressive traffic enforcement, the benefits gained, would diminish after two to eight weeks.

The Oro Valley Traffic Unit consists of one (1) Motor Sergeant and eight (8) Motor Officers. The Traffic Unit works under the philosophy of the three E’s: Education, Enforcement and Engineering. With this philosophy, the Traffic Unit determines the daily needs of the Town and takes the proactive approach at prevention, which reduces fatal and injury related vehicle collisions. A significant portion of the equipment utilized by the Motor Officers is provided by grant funding through the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS).

The Traffic Unit is tasked with the following:

  • Aggressive traffic enforcement
  • Evaluate traffic statistics for optimal deployment
  • Commercial vehicle inspections
  • Felony DUI investigation / follow-up
  • Driver education / awareness
  • Special event coordination
  • Criminal traffic investigations
  • Responding to traffic concerns / complaints
  • Traffic congestion
  • Reducing liability to the Town
  • Traffic safety (working with Town engineers to ensure safe roadways)

For traffic related questions or concerns, please call our Traffic Hotline 520-229-4933 and an officer will contact you.

The police motor officers do not seek out trees and bushes with the intent to hide from the motoring public. They sit under trees as a matter of self-preservation. The dedicated officers that volunteered for this assignment gave up the climate control that other officers have while operating a car, truck or SUV. Sitting under a tree while monitoring traffic, is a simple way for the motor officer to battle the hot Oro Valley sun while pursing the overall mission of public safety on the Oro Valley roadways.

Officers respond to medical calls for service for numerous reasons. While each circumstance is unique, there are common issues addressed on a regular basis. The following are some examples of the police officer’s role and responsibilities when responding to medical calls for service.

Police officers are considered first responders. While police officers do not have the extensive training paramedics have, officers do have training and tools for basic life saving techniques. Because officers are in the community during their shift, they are able to respond quickly. As such, it is not uncommon for a police officer to arrive at a medical call for service before the fire department. This is important to the preservation of life when the patient is not responsive and not breathing. Individual Oro Valley Police Officers have received the Department’s “Life Saving Award” for prolonging life until the paramedics arrive.

The Town of Oro Valley has a significant senior citizen population. Responding to medical calls for service provides an opportunity for officers to look for signs of abuse or neglect. In addition, the citizen may not have family or support to help care for them. It becomes the officer’s responsibility to recognize signs indicating if the citizen is not able to properly care for themselves. In the event this happens, it would be incumbent on the officer to get a social service, such as Adult Protective Services, involved.  Elder Abuse Information

In the unfortunate event that a medical condition was to cause the death of a citizen, there are specific responsibilities that fall on the shoulders of the responding police officer. One of the most difficult tasks is to assist the surviving family members in coping with their loss. The Police Department also has access to resources available to assist with this task. One such resource is the Victim Services Program. The volunteers involved with this program have specific training to help the family with the grieving process. The officer also has the responsibility to conduct an appropriate investigation to ensure there are no signs of suspicious activity. In addition, they are responsible for staying on scene until the remains can be removed.

The Oro Valley Police Department is proud to have an outstanding working relationship with the local fire departments that service Oro Valley residents. When responding to a medical call for service it is the police officers’ responsibility to ensure the paramedics’ safety. For example, when the patient is diabetic, he/she may be extremely emotional and not thinking rationally. Diabetic patients undergoing diabetic shock, which is life threatening, can be very combative. The officer has the training to safely and effectively restrain the patient while the paramedics administer the proper care. In incidents that involve serious medical conditions, family members can be very emotional and sometimes irrational. They can hinder the paramedic’s ability to properly care for the patient and jeopardize the patient’s safety. By speaking with the family member, away from the patient, the officer provides a stable environment for the paramedics to properly care for the patient.

Utilizing traffic stops is one of the most effective and common ways for a patrol officer to come into contact with and apprehend “real criminals”. Tickets and warnings are written by officers but they are specifically written to promote public safety. Writing a ticket/warning is just one outcome of a traffic stop.

The traffic stop itself is a useful tool to combat criminal activity. The “high visibility” of a traffic stop is noted by the Oro Valley community and by those who wish to engage in criminal activity. Because of the traffic stop’s high visibility, it is not uncommon for a defendant to tell an officer they knew better then to drive through Oro Valley. With that, criminals are not shy to admit it is good practice not to conduct criminal activity in Oro Valley.

The Oro Valley Police Department works hard to maintain its proactive policing philosophy, opposed to waiting for crime to happen and be reactive. In addition to traffic stops, officers’ conduct a significant portion of crime prevention, criminal investigation and criminal prosecution. The following are officer assignments in the Oro Valley’s Patrol Bureaus:

Traffic Unit is comprised of motorcycle officers whose specific job descriptions are to investigate motor vehicle collisions, respond to traffic complaints and enforce traffic laws. The goal of the Traffic Division is to utilize proactive traffic enforcement to promote safe driving behavior thus reducing the number of motor vehicle collisions on Oro Valley roadways. Among other offenses, traffic officers apprehend people driving with a suspended license, operating a vehicle without mandatory insurance, driving under the influence of intoxicants, and possessing illegal drugs and paraphernalia. Traffic officers ensure the roadways are safer for all motorists.

Community Action Team is a specialized unit focusing on property crimes and other specific problems affecting the Oro Valley community. As most property crimes support drug habits, the Team often finds itself targeting repeat offenders / habitual drug users and dealers. Over an 18-month span, the Team made 122 felony arrests and seized a large amount of heroin, crack and methamphetamines. In addition, they seized and/or recovered 22 vehicles. The unit was also recognized by ANOA (Arizona Narcotics Officers Association) as the “2009 Unit of the Year”. By removing these criminals from the streets, the Team drastically reduced the number of property crimes in Oro Valley.

Patrol Officers have many tasks, which include taking corrective action if traffic violations are observed. Patrol officers also utilize traffic contacts as a gateway to apprehend “real criminals”. Conducting numerous traffic stops increases the probability of having contact with a “real criminal”. Officers are able to apprehend those who are using and possessing illegal drugs have outstanding warrants and those who intend to commit a crime. The following are examples of “real criminals” being apprehended as a result of a traffic stop:


  • Colorado State Patrol - Trooper T. Marnell stopped a vehicle for a speeding violation. He identified the driver as an extremely dangerous fugitive who had escaped from a Utah correctional facility, was convicted for murder, armed robbery and attempted murder of a police officer. The suspect made a furtive movement, reaching for a semiautomatic pistol in a shoulder holster and was subsequently taken into custody at gunpoint. He was also in possession of two illegal knives and a sawed off shotgun.
  • Ted Bundy was a crafty individual that committed horrible acts of violence and escaped from police custody twice. He was first taken into custody when his vehicle was reported as a “suspicious vehicle”. An officer responded and upon locating the vehicle, Bundy tried to elude the police by speeding through stop signs and turning off the vehicle’s lights. When he finally stopped, the officers found Bundy in possession of disturbing items such as handcuffs, an ice pick, a crowbar and pantyhose with eyeholes cut out. They also noted the passenger side’s front seat was missing. From this, authorities launched the successful investigation connecting Bundy to the serial murders. Bundy escaped during a court appearance. Again, he was taken into custody after an officer stopped Bundy’s vehicle for traffic violations. Bundy escaped a second time, from a prison facility. He was taken into custody after an officer ran a license plate check and found the vehicle was reported stolen.
  • Timothy McVeigh was convicted of bombing the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City. Shortly after the bombing, McVeigh was stopped by Oklahoma State Trooper Charles J. Hanger who noticed the vehicle had no license plate. McVeigh admitted to the police officer he had a gun, and McVeigh was subsequently arrested for having driven without plates and illegal firearm possession. Three days later, while still in jail, McVeigh was identified as the subject of the nationwide manhunt.

Oro Valley

  • A corvette was stopped for speeding. A subsequent search of the vehicle yielded $100,000 in drug money; this resulted in seizure of the money and vehicle.
  • A stop was made for speeding. The occupants were found to be undocumented aliens. The investigation revealed they were on their way to a “stash house” in Oro Valley (a house that the provider stores drugs before passing onto dealers). They were also in possession of an AK-47 with ammunition and a sawed off shotgun.
  • A traffic officer made a stop for expired out of state registration. At the same time, other officers were responding to an audible alarm at a nearby Oro Valley residence. The traffic officer noted specific items in the back seat of the car that seemed out of place. Further investigation revealed the items in the back seat were stolen from the house with the alarm activation. A search warrant was served on the driver’s residence, also in Oro Valley, and additional items were recovered that were reported stolen during other burglaries.

Other Non-Traffic Related Arrests in Oro Valley

  • A suspect committed burglary while the homeowner’s teenaged daughter was in the residence. Officers confronted the suspect, who had previous burglary arrests, as he exited the residence. He fled on foot, was pursued and taken into custody.
  • An officer conducted a field interview with a subject walking the wrong direction along Oracle Road. The suspect had two felony warrants out of North Carolina for homicide. He was extradited to face those charges.
  • A patrol officer took a phone report referencing possible child pornography. Detectives conducted the follow up and subsequently served a search warrant. Thousands of illegal images were recovered.

These are a few examples of how officers utilize multiple resources to catch “real criminals”. When you see an Oro Valley officer on a traffic stop, please remember the following:

  • Not every vehicle stopped by an Oro Valley officer is suspected to be occupied by a criminal. There are traffic safety concerns that are addressed through the issuance of citations and warnings. The purpose is to modify driving behavior, and reduce the number of collisions on the Oro Valley roadways, thus making it a safer community.
  • Not every traffic stop results with the issuance of a ticket. The traffic stop is an invaluable tool to combat criminal activity in our community. It is the most effective and common way for a patrol officer to contact and apprehend the “real criminals”. The high visibility of frequent traffic stops in itself is a deterrent to criminals.

Modern police training emphasizes there is no such thing as a “routine” traffic stop. An officer is more likely to be killed on a “routine” traffic stop than during almost any other activity.* The driver being stopped may be fleeing a serious crime, transporting illegal drugs, be in a stolen car or have a warrant. The officer making the stop does not know whom he has until he is standing at the driver’s window. Faced with this reality, officers are trained to make a stop, hoping for the best, but planning for the worst. Part of this training includes having a numerical advantage. Our officers are encouraged to stop with their colleagues whenever possible, as it is certainly better to have additional officers at a scene before they are needed. At a minimum, the presence of an additional officer allows the stop officer to concentrate on the administrative tasks associated with the stop while his “back up” focuses on the safety of all involved.

Remember, it is not uncommon for traffic stops to develop into something more serious and end with an arrest. The single most dangerous time for police officers is while making an arrest. Both common sense and good police practice demand more than one officer if possible.* Excluding arrests, many activities such as D.U.I. investigations, vehicle searches, inventories and impounds require two officers in order to conduct a stop safely and within policy.

* For more information regarding officers killed in the line of duty, visit F.B.I Uniform Crime Reports Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted website.

Oro Valley officers do not have a daily, weekly or monthly quota. In addition to responding to dispatched calls for service, officers are expected to create self-initiated activity such as motorist assists, conducting field interviews with suspicious persons, enforcing traffic laws and patrolling business and residential areas. An officer’s supervisor will ensure the officer is being productive by monitoring his/her activity.

No. Arizona Law [A.R.S. § 28-903(B)(C)] prohibits motorcycles from passing between two vehicles or passing within the same lane as another vehicle. A.R.S. § 28-903(E) states this does not apply to police motorcycles operating in performance of their official duties.

Oro Valley motorcycle officers have successfully completed rigorous training before they are allowed to operate a police motorcycle. Part of that training includes traveling between cars, known as “white lining”. There are several reasons you may see a motorcycle officer white line. Several examples are as follows:

  • An officer is responding to a call for service where lights and sirens are not warranted, but there is a need for a timely response. In order to get in front and around traffic, the officer may white line.
  • When motorists see a police motorcycle operating with its lights and sirens on, they often pull to the left instead of the right, or stop abruptly. The motor officer may determine in congested traffic, it is safer for him/her to white line, rather then try to get vehicles to move to the right with their lights and sirens.
  • An officer is looking for violations or criminal activity. Officers are trained to white line while vehicles are stopped for a red light. This gives the officer the opportunity to look for such violations as registration violations, children not in the required child seats, or violations of having an open alcoholic beverage container. White lining also allows a motorcycle officer the opportunity to smell such things as burning marijuana coming from a vehicle.

Whatever the reason an officer might white line, all officers are required to operate police vehicles with due regard for the public. The motorcycle officer goes through extensive training and if he does not feel he can safely white line, he won’t.

The Oro Valley Police Department is very proud of the service it provides to all citizens. The Police Department routinely receives letters of appreciation from citizens thanking an officer for providing assistance by changing a tire or calling a tow truck for them. Unfortunately, there are times when an officer must pass by a stranded motorist while en route to a call.

Officers have very strict guidelines to follow regarding the response to calls for service. Most of the time officers respond to calls without their lights and/or sirens on. There is no visible distinction when an officer is responding to 911 calls for service. An officer’s priority is the 911 call they are dispatched to; therefore, you may see an officer drive by a stranded motorist in need of assistance. Because public safety is paramount to the Oro Valley Police Department, the officer is expected to conduct a visual check of the motorist, while passing. In most cases, if it appears the motorist is in immediate jeopardy, the motorist immediately becomes the priority. If the officer determines the motorist is in no serious danger, they will continue to respond to the dispatched call. It is also commonplace for the officer to return to the stranded motorist area after their dispatched call, to check on the motorist or for the officer to call another available unit to check on the motorist.

The philosophy of the Oro Valley Police Department (OVPD) is to deter crime proactively. To do this, officers are expected to patrol the residential communities and business complexes within their assigned beats. We also rely on our citizens to assist us in reporting suspicious activities within their neighborhoods. If a citizen observes something unusual, they are encouraged to call the police and report the activity. In addition to regular patrol, OVPD utilizes a variety of resources to patrol neighborhoods, which includes the Community Action Team and Bike Officers.

Bicycle Officers supplement marked patrol units. They concentrate their efforts on patrolling commercial complexes and parks, which allows marked units the ability to patrol neighborhoods more frequently.

Oro Valley Police Department maintains law enforcement statistic records, which include calls for service, the number of officers per 1000 residents and the types of crimes that occur within the Town.

                                   1997          2008           2010
Calls for Service        8,550        16,757         17,186
Population                22,834      *43,223     **41,011

* 2008 population is a PAGNET estimate
** 2010 population based on actual Census 2010 data

The increase in calls for service and the population rise show a correlated increase with both categories nearly doubling since 1997.

Despite the rise in calls for service, it is the mission of OVPD to remain very proactive. High visibility is a key element of crime deterrence. Being visible to the community is essential and will remain a priority for OVPD.

During the police academy, a police recruit is required to go through 40 hours of intensive driver training. This training includes; pursuit driving, escape driving, backing, braking and reaction time testing. Each of these components of driving are considered multitasking as the officer must also listen to, react and transmit on the police radio. The police recruits are required to successfully complete driver training prior to becoming certified police officers.

Once certified, Oro Valley Police Officers are required to attend annual in-service driver training.

Although talking on the cell phone and driving can be dangerous, officers may need to use their phones while responding to calls for service. They may be obtaining additional information from other officers, dispatchers or the reportee of a call.

One of the missions of the Oro Valley Police Department is to provide a very rapid response time for dispatched calls for service. This drastically increases the chances of catching a criminal during the commission of a crime. Knowing their Police Department can respond to any situation quickly, citizens have an instilled safe feeling. Having officers in their vehicles ready to respond is vital to the success of this mission.

Patrol officers are assigned to one of four beats (areas of deployment) for 10-hour shifts. The most proactive way to address our response commitment is to have officer’s complete as much work as possible inside their vehicles. To do this, they often park their vehicle somewhere inside their beat. During these 10 hours, their vehicles become their offices; allowing them to handle all responses for service, paperwork generated, investigations and communications with other involved officers, will occur from the vehicle.

Officers are also trained to prevent crime and to be available to the public. One of the best ways to deter crime is to park in a business complex while completing paperwork. This invites the community to approach the officer with any questions and concerns they may have.

On most calls for service, more than one officer will respond. Officers work as a team and will split up investigative responsibilities. Once the investigation is complete, officers sometimes need to meet to exchange paperwork and information.

It should be noted that police officers do not have a designated lunch hour. Officers must find time during their shift to eat between calls. It is common for officers to bring their meal and eat in their vehicle.


Generally, an officer must be out of Field Training and off probation with a varying number of years as a police officer.  There are exceptions, which it is based on current situations and the departments needs at that time.

Basic Academy at CARLOTA is eighteen (18) weeks. Basic Academy at SALETC is sixteen (16) weeks.  Basic Academy at the Pima County Sheriff's Office is twenty-two (22) weeks.

To get an applicant through the background phase, it can take several months.  To get an applicant through the academy and solo patrol on the street takes approximately seven months.

When police officer positions become available or when Council approves new positions for growth or annexation, a recruiting process will begin and dates for testing will be scheduled.  Scheduled Process Information

A recruit must be twenty-one (21) years of age by graduation date from Basic Academy.  There are no maximum age limits.