The Fort Worth Police Department's Traffic Division has been in existence since the early 1930's. The size of the division has fluctuated over the years. At one time, during the 1950's, the Traffic Division staffed over 40 motorcycle officers. The Motorcycle Unit was disbanded for less than one year in the early 1960's. However, it was reestablished when the city realized just how valuable they were to the Police Department and the citizens of Fort Worth. Today, the Traffic Division still plays a major role in the day to day operations of the Fort Worth Police Department. It is currently staffed with 93 sworn members, consisting of:
- 9 Corporal/Detectives
- 72 Officers
The Traffic Division consists of four (4) sections:
Traffic Investigation Unit (T.I.U.)
These are the "detectives" of the Traffic Division. Currently, one must hold the rank of corporal/detective to be eligible for a position in this unit. Responsibilities include follow-up investigations and criminal case filings for offenses such as intoxication manslaughter, D.W.I., Hit and Run accidents, or any situation involving serious injury or death resulting from a traffic collision. The T.I.U. detectives work predominately day shift hours, however, some are on 24-hour call back. The call back responsibility is usually rotated between detectives; this allows a detective to be available for any situation, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Radar and Freeway Units
These officers operate marked traffic units that are equipped with speed detection devices, such as radar and laser. In addition to enforcing traffic laws, officers also investigate traffic accidents and may also be utilized for any other special situation which requires traffic control. Examples would include major accidents, structure fires/explosions, crowd control, or escorts. Officers normally work one of two shifts: day shift or evening. Fort Worth Police Department currently uses Dodge Chargers for the freeway assignment. The officers selected to operate these high performance cars receive special training, and only those who are properly trained are allowed to drive them. These cars have been modified so that they carry only one occupant, the driver. They are equipped with rollbars, radar, an M.D.C. and other equipment necessary for the officer to perform their duties.
Officers operate marked traffic units that are equipped with speed detection devices and dash mounted cameras. These officers are the Traffic Division's "Midnight Shift," working the hours of 9:30 p.m. - 5:30 a.m. Along with enforcing traffic laws, this unit's objective is to detect and apprehend drivers who are operating motor vehicles under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Motorcycle officers are responsible for enforcing traffic laws, providing escorts, and controlling traffic. Officers selected for this assignment are trained to operate the police motorcycle. The training lasts a minimum of eight weeks and sometimes longer. Motor training is very demanding both physically and mentally. Officers must learn to operate a 750 pound motorcycle, be able to avoid hazards, detect violators and safely apprehend them. Officers are not required to have riding experience, but they must exhibit the abilities to be trained. The police motorcycle is capable of moving through traffic much easier than the vehicles. The motorcycle is also capable of accelerating quickly, which makes it the ideal tool for apprehending speeding violators. The Fort Worth Police Department Motorcycle Unit has an outstanding safety record. It is home to some of the best motorcycle officers in the state.
The Fort Worth Police Department is also home to the first female motorcycle officer in the State of Texas. Officer Ann Gates was selected for motorcycle training in July, 1983 and rode for 13 years. She has competed in numerous police motorcycle riding competitions across the state. She has won many trophies and awards for her excellent riding abilities and was selected to train the motorcycle officers for the Fort Worth Police Department's Motorcycle Unit.