Can someone in the Santa Barbara Police Department (SBPD) please explain to me why creating a traffic hazard is the norm when issuing tickets? This is a genuine question.

On a recent Tuesday afternoon three police officers were issuing a traffic ticket on Haley Street, and one lane was blocked by the police vehicle, causing everyone to merge into one lane. I asked the two police officers that were observing the issuing officer if they could park the vehicle along the curb, which is a designated parking spot. “We don’t park in parking spots ma’am” was the response I got.

Really? This is something I have noticed over and over again. I don’t get it, but maybe there’s a reason?

SBPD’s spokesperson Sergeant Ethan Ragsdale replied: When looking at conducting traffic stops, the officers’ main concern is for their safety, and sometimes the best practice is to block a lane of traffic when conducting such stops. Blocking a lane does create a temporary “bottleneck,” but on purpose. The technical term would be traffic calming: It slows drivers down when passing the police vehicle(s). This also creates a buffer for the officer when talking to the driver at the car window, so they don’t have to worry about getting sideswiped by a passing vehicle. It is one less safety concern when the officer must be focused on the driver and/or passengers.


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