- What to do if you get stopped by an officer.
- Best way to dispose medications.
- Tips for Protecting Home & Auto
- How do I get a copy of an accident / case report?
- How do I get a baby / child car seat inspection?
- How can I get a permit?
- Does WHPD Fingerprint?
- Hiring a Police Officer for a private duty assignment
West Hartford Police Cares About Your Safety
Know Your Rights and Responsibilities
There are many different reasons why the police might stop you. Whatever the reason, the officer needs your cooperation.
- The police may want to warn you about a potentially dangerous situation.
- You may have committed a traffic violation.
- Your vehicle may match the description of one used in a criminal act.
- The officer might think you are in trouble and need help.
If you are stopped by the police while driving, you may feel confused, anxious or even angry. These are natural feelings, but remember, traffic stops can also be stressful and dangerous for the police officer. Each year, a number of law enforcement officers are killed or seriously injured while making the "routine" traffic stop. Police officers are especially vulnerable during the hours of darkness.
With this in mind, there are things that you, as a law-abiding citizen, can do to help lessen the uneasiness of the experience.
What to do when an officer stops you:
- When you see the red/blue/white overhead lights and/or hear the siren, remain calm, slow down and pull over in a safe location off the roadway to the right.
- If there is any question, if in fact it is a police officer, keep your doors locked, and window down only enough to hear. If the officer is in plain clothes ask to have a uniformed officer respond. You can also call 911 from your cellular phone.
- Do not exit your vehicle unless asked to do so. This is for safety reasons.
- Keep your hands on the steering wheel so the officer can see them.
- Inform the officer of any weapons in your vehicle and their location. Do not reach or point to the location.
- Avoid any sudden movements, especially toward the floorboard, rear seat or passenger side of the vehicle.
- Comply with the officer’s request to see you driver's license, proof of insurance and vehicle registration. Connecticut law requires you to carry these with you.
- If your documents are out of reach, tell the officer where they are before you reach them.
- If there are passengers in your vehicle, encourage them to remain quiet and cooperate with instructions. You, as the operator, are solely responsible for your vehicle and its occupants.
- Avoid becoming argumentative. Arguing will not change the officer's mind. If you contest the violation, you will have an opportunity to address the matter in court.
- Answer all questions truthfully.
- The officer may issue you a ticket. If asked to sign citation, do so. This is not an admission of guilt merely shows you received the citation.
Understand that each situation is unique and the police officer must alter his or her response to fit the circumstance. Generally, however, a police officer will do the following;
Provide his/her name upon request.
Inform a person of the reason for being stopped.
If you have a question about procedures or a complaint about your treatment please contact the Police Department or refer to the Documents and Forms page for complaint information.
Use the following guidelines when you drive:
- Always insure you and all occupants are properly buckled up.
- Connecticut Law requires children to be in a booster seat until they reach a minimum of 60 pounds and they turn 7 years old. Any person who transports a child 7 years of age or older weighing more than 60 pounds shall either provide and require the child to use an approved child restraint system or the child should use a seat belt system.
- Don't drink and drive. Nearly half of all fatal crashes are alcohol related. If you drink, use a designated driver.
- Observe and obey posted speed limits. Speeding fines are expensive and may cause your insurance rates to increase.
- Impatient and aggressive drivers are becoming increasingly common on our roadways. Drive with respect and courtesy. Aggressive driving is against the law!
- Always avoid distractive movements while driving: using cell phones, eating or drinking, applying make-up, reading or disciplining children.
Two of your most precious possessions are your home and your car. The last thing anyone wants is to have your residence burglarized, your property stolen or to have your property damaged in some way. There are simple steps you can take to help protect your property. The most important thing you can do is to CALL THE POLICE to report a crime or any suspicious activity at 860-523-5203 or 911 if an emergency. You must be the eyes and ears of your neighborhood.
Suggestions to protect your home:
Light up your residence, lock your doors, & call the police when you see something suspicious.
Lock all outside doors and windows before you leave the house or go to bed. Even if it is for a short time, lock them.
Install window locks that prevent your window from being raised more than a few inches.
Keep your garage door closed and locked.
Do not leave your valuables in plain sight or near a window or door.
Install sensor lights around any outside door. Motion sensitive lights are recommended for backyards.
Use light timers in your home if you are going to be away for a length of time.
Stop you newspapers and mail while you are away. Arrange for your lawn to be mowed if you are going away for an extended time.
An alarm system is excellent for home security.
Know your neighbors and keep in touch with your family:
Tell your trusted neighbors when you are going away on a trip. Ask them to keep an eye on your home and offer to do the same when they are away.
Tell your family when you are going away and let them know where you are going.
If you come home to find an unexplained open/broken window or door:
Do not enter - the perpetrator may still be inside.
Use a neighbor's phone to call police.
Do not touch anything or clean up until the police have inspected for evidence.
Write down the license plate numbers of any suspicious vehicles.
Note the descriptions of any suspicious persons
Suggestions to protect your car:
Do not leave anything valuable in your car. Examples include your wallet, purse, laptop computer, cameras, or your cell phone.
If you must leave a valuable possession in your car make sure to lock it in a trunk and do so out of public view.
Lock your car. This is the simplest way to prevent your car from being burglarized. About 80-90% of all car burglaries are committed on unlocked vehicles.
Do not leave the garage door opener in plain view.
Install a sensor light for your driveway or park in a lighted area of your apartment. If you lease your residence inquire with your landlord about the installation of a sensor light.
Install a car alarm. The noise from an alarm is an excellent deterrent to someone who breaks in to your vehicle.
Fingerprinting (for employment, adoption, financial institutions, etc.) is available for a fee of $10.00 per card individuals who live or work in West Hartford ONLY. The fee is $10.00 per card. Fingerprint cards can be supplied if needed. They can also be obtained from the requesting agency. We cannot provide fingerprints for citizenship or for naturalization purposes. These must be taken by INS. We do not provide Live Scan fingerprinting.
Fingerprinting is by appointment only. Please call 860-570-8800, leave a message and we will return your call Monday - Friday to arrange a mutually agreed appointment.
Please visit the Records Division webpage for contact information.