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HVE-bringing it all together

High Visibility Enforcement is a universal traffic safety approach designed to create deterrence and change unlawful traffic behaviors. HVE combines highly visible and proactive law enforcement targeting a specific traffic safety issue. Law enforcement efforts are combined with visibility elements and a publicity strategy to educate the public and promote voluntary compliance with the law.


Law enforcement agencies should develop sustained HVE plans across all areas of traffic safety using the HVE approach: Enforcement, Visibility, and Publicity.


Some other areas that may assist with HVE implementation, or enhance current HVE are: working with community partners, and reward and recognition programs.

“When citizens see officers (from our jurisdiction or others), they know it’s not just a one night thing, but part of a continuous effort. Whether belts, speed, or impaired driving, our community is aware.”

-- Chief Mona Dohman Maple Grove, Minnesota, Police Department



Community support may enhance an effective HVE program. Building partnerships with advocacy and health care organizations, businesses, schools and youth groups, etc. may help provide the public support for increased law enforcement aimed at protecting a community from unsafe drivers. Each partnership brings different strengths and abilities to the table – together, they can greatly enhance your HVE efforts. 


When building partnerships, work within your own environment. If you live in a small community you may not have advocacy groups or organizations to partner with, but your local insurance agent, health care provider, or other local business may be interested in getting involved.


Each of the partners and their organizations provide a specific benefit to an HVE program because of their standing in the community or their commitment to the safety of their community. See: Grassroots Support for Impaired-Driving Law Enforcement Crackdown Efforts


Local Leaders (State, Country, Local Level) 

These people can provide support for you to implement or participate in an HVE program, either individually or as one of a multi-jurisdictional effort. Support often comes from the top down from local leadership (governor, county executive, mayor, county/city council, chief, sheriff, etc.). For that reason, it is imperative that these key individuals be informed about the importance of such enforcement to keep the jurisdiction safe. Use local information to educate this group on the specific problem and the HVE countermeasure to reduce the consequences associated with the problem. Gaining the support of political and local leaders may assist in the implementation of your HVE program and enhance its success.


Law Enforcement Agencies

“For law enforcement agencies, its 'whats in it for me.' With current data, I can talk with law enforcement and give them something they can use. 'Weve lowered the traffic problems, but have also lowered home invasions, motor vehicle thefts, etc.'  We need to pass this along to give chiefs and sheriffs more ammunition.”  -- Gary Coe, NHTSA Region 8, Law Enforcement Liaison


Multi-Jurisdictional Efforts
Combine your resources and your efforts with neighboring jurisdictions including “non-traditional agencies (park police, campus police, ABC officers, game wardens, etc.)


The multi-jurisdictional approach is a critical countermeasure in traffic safety.  When you have more patrol vehicles in service, you create a greater police presence, which in turn creates general deterrence because it increases the risk (or perceived risk) that the motoring public will be caught.  The enforcement must be highly visible and include an equal balance of enforcement, visibility elements, and publicity.


Some of the benefits of multi-jurisdictional efforts include the following:

  • Provides increased staffing for smaller agencies.
  • Expands areas of enforcement.
  • Expands media opportunities and exposure.
  • Helps establish or reinforce cooperation among law enforcement.


Criminal Justice Stakeholders

Increased citations and arrests result in increased workloads across the criminal justice system.  It is important to notify criminal justice stakeholders of your HVE program so they can plan for those increases.


Invite these stakeholders to be partners in your HVE efforts from the beginning to establish support for your common goals and HVE efforts:

  • Prosecutors
  • Judges
  • Court liaisons
  • Clerks of the court
  • Probation and parole personnel (especially DUI/drug courts)
  • Toxicologists and laboratory personnel
  • Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor (TSRP)
  • Judicial Outreach Liaison (JOL)


State-Level Organizations and Associations

  • State Highway Safety Office
  • State Law Enforcement Liaison (LEL) or NHTSA Regional LEL
  • Chiefs/Sheriffs Associations


National-Level Law Enforcement Associations

While these associations may not be active partners in your HVE efforts, law enforcement associations may be a source for networking, learning promising practices, and identifying new agencies with which to partner.

  • International Association of Chiefs of Police,
  • National Sheriffs Association,
  • International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators,
  • National Liquor Law Enforcement Association,
  • National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives,
  • Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association,


Advocacy Groups, Organizations and Traffic Safety Coalitions

“What MADD does is put a face on the crime better than anything else. It’s what we do. Commitment is what you get from a MADD volunteer.” -- Mike Boland, MADD Missouri


There are a variety of groups and organizations that support traffic safety and can lend their assistance in promoting HVE programs.  Building a partnership with advocacy groups, organizations, traffic safety coalitions, healthcare groups, and business provides an opportunity to combine the efforts of many people working on a common goal.


These groups often can assist with establishing community support for law enforcement efforts.  In addition, they can help with your public awareness by contacting local businesses for their support, writing letters to the editor, participating in press events, and more.


If you don’t already have a partnership with these groups, find a person or group who is passionate about, or involved with traffic safety.  Contact this person or group and express your interest in working with them to implement or enhance your HVE efforts.


Be sure to include advocacy groups and traffic safety partners during initial planning if you are considering multi-jurisdictional HVE.  These groups may be able to assist you to gain support and participation from other jurisdictions, community leaders, and other stakeholders.

Traffic Safety Advocate Associations

Medical Associations

Minority Associations



Establish media contacts to assist with your educational and enforcement messages.  The media will not be a partner in the planning or implementation of your HVE program, but establishing a network of media contacts early is a critical component in high visibility enforcement.



Many elements in the timeline identify key activities for developing a sustained strategy across a variety of traffic safety programs. It's a good idea to establish a strategic plan with the input of all involved stakeholders, partners, and agencies. Your HVE strategic plan must be fluid to accommodate individual enforcement efforts or changes within any given deployment (e.g. type of enforcement, time of year, weather conditions, staffing levels, community needs, etc.).


Use local data to target your sustained enforcement as well as your enhanced deployments for specific enforcement such as speed or impaired driving. As an added boost, coordinate your efforts with campaigns already scheduled through your State Highway Safety Office or NHTSA. A good starting point is NHTSA’s calendar.


Once you’ve laid the groundwork, each individual HVE effort can be planned and conducted in a relatively short timeframe, generally reducing your planning time to a few short weeks.


 Laying the Groundwork, 9-12 Months Before the Program

  • Identify stakeholders and partners.  Enlist their support and assistance.
  • Convene a meeting of all stakeholders and partners who will be involved.  If you will be conducting multi-jurisdictional efforts, it is important to invite all agencies and their stakeholders and partners.
  • Assess personnel who will be conducting the enforcement to ensure they have necessary training, legal updates, policy information, etc.
  • Alert prosecutors and court personnel of the HVE program

 6-9 Months Before the Program

  • Plan enforcement strategies (types of enforcement and deployment operations, e.g., sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols).  If you will be conducting multi-jurisdictional enforcement, include all agencies.
  • Plan visibility strategies and elements, make sure your signage and equipment (e.g., HVE vests, road signs, vehicle magnets, etc.) are available, clean, and in good repair.
  • Plan media and publicity.
  • Identify data you will need for your evaluation.

3-6 Months Before the Program

  • Choose launch date.
  • Meet with all law enforcement agencies, stakeholders and partners to define and agree upon the roles and responsibilities of each.
  • Create a Directed Activity Mission, Memorandum of Understanding, or similar agreement, detailing the program.
  • Plan your media strategy; enlist partner support.
  • Identify, through data, the primary focus for the press event (e.g., youth enforcement, impaired motorcycle operators, etc.).
  • Notify prosecutors and court personnel of the dates of your program and the possibility of increased workloads.
  • Order any new signage or equipment that may be required, as well as additional copies of brochures, business cards or other educational information that you plan to provide to motorists during the program.
  • Ensure that any necessary training has been scheduled.


1-3 Months Before the Program

  • Ensure that all educational materials have been printed and delivered.
  • Work with volunteers and partners to make arrangements for them to provide assistance as needed.
  • Select the location for the press event.  Rotate the location and host if you are conducting multi-jurisdictional efforts to ensure that all players are equal partners.

      • The location should relate to the key message (“hook”) for the HVE.
      • Ensure that the location is large enough to accommodate all props (e.g., BATmobiles, new equipment, etc.) and demonstrations.
      • If your media event will be held outside, be sure to have an alternative location in case of inclement weather
  • Confirm the availability of all speakers; obtain bios.
  • Prepare press kits, including a list of speakers with bios, talking points, national and local data, etc.
  • Reserve props for the press event (e.g., BATmobiles, new breath test equipment, etc.).
  • Complete all officer training, refresher training, and legal updates.


2-4 Weeks Before the Program

  • Brief assigned staff on all aspects of the program

      • Locations and times,
      • Educational materials (e.g., business/post card explaining the HVE program),
      • Reporting requirements and forms.
  • Begin sending media advisories and press releases to local media.
  • Encourage partners/stakeholders to submit letters to the editor or op/ed articles to the local media in support of the HVE program.


1 Week Before the Program

  • Send an email media advisory to the local media, inviting them to the press event.
  • Invite key media to participate in the program beyond the event, either at a checkpoint or through ride-alongs, as allowed by departmental policy.
  • Remind prosecutors and court personnel of the upcoming HVE program.
  • Conduct a volunteer orientation meeting, advising volunteers of all agency policies or regulations that apply to their role in the HVE program (obtain signed waivers as necessary).


3 Days Before the Program

  • Change the location of the event if weather forecasts predict inclement weather.
  • Contact all speakers to re-confirm location/time of the press event.
  • Confirm that all props are available for the event.
  • Contact media and confirm the event time and location, particularly if either has changed.


Day of the Program

  • Conduct the press event.
  • Be available, with stakeholders/partners, for media interviews.  Provide photo opportunities for the media that relate to your “hook” or enforcement efforts, such as car seat demonstrations, checkpoint enforcement road sign, or even something as simple as a marked squad car or officers in uniform.


During the Program

  • Provide drivers with a business/post card explaining the reason for the program and thanking them for their cooperation.
  • Post daily results (if known) on the agency’s website and social networks (Facebook, Twitter).
  • Be available for media interviews.


After the Program

  • Immediately distribute press release reporting results of the program.
  • Arrange interviews with local media to thank the community for their cooperation and support, noting that their community is safer.
  • With partners, plan a recognition event for all agencies, officers and stakeholders who participated in the program.



Each HVE effort will be individualized and require a different level of planning.  A two-week long impaired driving crackdown, or multi-jurisdictional deployment requires more planning than a one agency, one night blitz after a college football game. The key is to have a solid, but fluid, long-term strategic plan.


After the strategic plan has been adopted, your HVE operations, strategies, and elements can be planned and implemented rather quickly.  The following list includes the minimum requirements for planning a brief HVE effort:

  • Identify the type of enforcement (saturation patrol, checkpoint, speed, alcohol, etc.).
  • Identify the location(s) and times of enforcement based on data.
  • Identify strategies and elements to enhance the visibility of your enforcement.
  • Notify prosecutors and court personnel of the HVE activity.
  • Engage assistance from partners and stakeholders

      • Submit letters to the editor, supporting press releases,
      • Obtain volunteer assistance at a checkpoint (check your agency policy).
  • Send a media alert to local newspapers and radio, inviting their participation in the press event and making yourself available for interviews.
  • Issue a press release and post the HVE activity on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Immediately following the event, issue a press release reporting the results of the HVE activity and thanking the community for their support.





Recognition and reward are important elements of a successful HVE program.  Recognition can come in many forms.  The following list identifies some methods used to recognize individuals and organizations responsible for the success of your HVE effort:


  • Types of awards

      • Medals/certificates/special coins or lapel pins for top performing officers,
      • Equipment (e.g., PBTs, pop-up road signs, magnets, specially marked vests, etc.) for top performers,
      • Plaques, certificates, and letters to officers and partner organizations,
      • Letters to the editor on your local paper, thanking partners for their participation.
  • Functions (luncheons/meetings) to recognize participating agencies, partners, and officers (always invite the press and follow up with a press release).
  • IACP National Law Enforcement Challenge


Measuring effectiveness will be different for each individual agency and type of enforcement.  If you are working with a funding source such as your State Highway Safety Office, they will have specific information they want you to report. Check your funding requirements for guidance.


Collecting data will highlight goals that are being accomplished, identify gaps, and help you evaluate the overall effectiveness of your program.


Remember: HVE is designed to change unlawful traffic behaviors and reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities. It is not a strategy designed to increase arrests; in fact, it may yield decreased citation counts over time


Process (Qualitative Evaluation) 

The qualitative evaluation is a look at the success of meeting your HVE program activities—did you do what you planned to do.  It looks at activities conducted that may have resulted in a change of behavior.  Questions answered in a process evaluation may include:

  • Did we fully implement our program?
  • Did we follow our strategic plan?
  • If we used a multi-jurisdictional approach, did all partner agencies fully participate?
  • How many partner organizations visibly and vocally supported our program?
  • Did we execute our publicity plan—send out the planned number of press releases, make the desired number of follow-up calls, brief as many editorial boards as planned?
  • How many interviews were conducted?
  • How many articles were published?
  • Did the public pick up materials (flyers, stickers, etc.) that were made available?


Outcome (Quantitative Evaluation) 

Quantitative evaluations look at numbers, data, and statistics to measure the impact of the program.  Some common measures include:

  • Number of stops
  • Number of citations or arrests
  • Type of citation or arrest
  • Decreases in crashes, injury and fatality
  • Increase in seat belt use
  • Observational studies (number of belts used, number of vehicles left in bar parking lots, etc.)


Remember, the ultimate goal is not to increase the number of arrests or citations, but to change unsafe driving behaviors.



Surveys can be particularly useful in measuring the effectiveness of media and publicity.  Surveys can be conducted in many ways:  focus groups, interviews, mail or email questionnaires, Internet survey instruments such as Survey Monkey, etc. 


Questions that may be asked to determine the effectiveness of your media and publicity campaign include:

  • Did the message reach the target audience?
  • Does the public know the tag line?
  • Did the public pay attention to the message?
  • Does the public believe there was increased enforcement?
  • Does the public perceive a greater risk of receiving a citation or being arrested?
  • Did the public change their behavior because of the media messages?


 Putting Your Evaluation to Work 


Based on analyses of data from previous deployments, you will be able to:

  • Adjust your enforcement strategy, including location, time of day, day of week.
  • Adjust your marketing and publicity to better reach your target your audience.
  • Determine the need for additional training.
  • Reallocate budget and resources.
  • Announce the success of your HVE program and thank the community for its support.

Ensure the public sees high levels of enforcement activity.
Tell the public why the law is being enforced.
Visibility Elements
Show the public what is being enforced.
>> BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER: Implementing or enhancing your HVE effort
>> RESOURCES: Frequently Asked Questions, Quick Picks Toolkit, Partners

U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
1-800-424-9153 (TTY)