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Roanoke County police now keep records of traffic warnings

July 26, 2013 | Virginia News

Officers have recorded 1,346 warnings since April 3, when the practice officially began.

by ZACH CRIZER | Roanoke Times

A warning isn’t just a warning anymore for Roanoke County drivers.

While a motorist escaping a traffic stop without a ticket may still breathe a sigh of relief, the violation doesn’t simply vanish in Roanoke County. Since April, Roanoke County police have been issuing and documenting written warnings.

Chief Howard Hall said the recorded warnings add a layer of knowledge for officers and give them a better chance of enforcing laws effectively. While Hall said he has worked in departments where warnings were documented, the practice is not common among Roanoke-area agencies. Roanoke police do not keep track of warnings, Capt. Monti Lee said. A Virginia State Police spokesman said the statewide agency does not record warnings, either.

“They have been issuing warnings essentially forever,” Hall said. “But they were all verbal. No information was collected.”

Now, Hall said, drivers get a written copy — which he called a visual reminder — and officers file the warning for future use, such as a second traffic stop involving that driver.

“Our officer would be able to see that a warning had been issued in the past,” Hall said. “And that could certainly factor into their enforcement decision during that stop.”

According to the department’s statistics, 1,346 warnings have been issued and recorded since the practice began on April 3. ...


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