Police Frequently Asked Questions

Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option
  • Are all crime reports investigated by a detective?

    No. The detective sergeants review and determine which cases are investigated. The case is assigned for investigation based on the witness and evidentiary solvability factors. However, all crime reports are reviewed by the detectives in order to link series related crimes.

  • Can I contact the detective assigned to my crime case if I have additional relevant information?

    Yes. You can call the Investigation Division if you have additional information that may lead to the successful resolution of your crime case. Remember to obtain the crime case number from the Records Division prior to calling.

  • Does my dog need a license?

    If you live within the City Limits of El Cajon, you must license your dog in person or by mail at 1373 N. Marshal Ave., El Cajon, CA 92020.
    Within the city limits of La Mesa licenses can be obtained at La Mesa City Hall (619) 667-1117.
    Within the unincorporated areas of San Diego licenses can be obtained through the San Diego County Animal Services at (619) 236-4250 or
    Dogs must be licensed between the age of 4 to 5 months, or within 30 days of moving to or acquiring a dog in the City of El Cajon. You must RENEW your current El Cajon license within 60 days of the current license expiration. As a courtesy, Animal Control sends reminder notices to those who need to renew.
  • How can I get involved with the Crime Free Multi-Housing Program?

    Call Officer Samantha Scheurn, Crime Prevention Specialist, (619) 579-4227.
  • How do I complain about a noisy animal?

    Please send a letter to the Shelter stating your name, address and phone number along with the exact address of where the problem animal is located, and a brief description of the problem. You must be willing to appear in court regarding your complaint if there is a need to prosecute.

    For more information, please click here.

  • How do I contact an Animal Control Officer?

    Call 619-441-1580. Leave a message with your information for an officer to contact you. If the shelter is closed, Dial 0 and you will be connected to the El Cajon Police Department who will have an officer contact you.
  • How do I get in touch with a police officer after business hours?

    Click this link for hours of operation.

    Outside of regular hours of operation, please call 619-579-3311. After hours, the phones are forwarded to our dispatch center. This 24-hour dispatch center is the 911 center for all of El Cajon. 

    All phone lines are recorded at this agency.

  • How long do we keep animals?

    All adoptable animals are kept as long as they remain healthy and retain an adoptable temperament.
  • How much does it cost to adopt a cat or dog?

    The adoption fee for dogs and cats is $80. All are spayed or neutered, given their initial vaccinations and micro chipped. The shelter frequently has rabbits, reptiles, rodents and birds available for adoption. Fees vary.
  • How much is a dog license?

    Dog License Fees

    Type 1 Year 2 Years 3 Years
    Altered Dogs $20 $25 $30
    Unaltered Dogs $30 $40 $50
    Late Fee $15
    Replacement/Transfer Fee  $5


  • How To Call 911

    Pick up the phone and listen for a dial tone. Push the “9″ button, push the “1″ button, and push the “1″ button again.
  • I have noticed an increase of DUI Checkpoints {Driving Under the Influence} within the City of El Cajon. Why is this occurring?

    Driving under the Influence offenses, primarily alcohol, have reached record proportions in the State of California. Over the past few years, the number of offenders has cycled up and down, but once again are on the rise for 2003. This is a major safety issue for all citizens in our county and one that must be addressed in an assertive manner.

    Over a period years, MADD {Mothers against Drunk Driving}, the California Legislature as well as the court system, have joined forces to enact and enforce strict laws regarding DUI drivers. This has resulted in a number of innovations, among which is the DUI Checkpoint. In essence, drivers are directed into a specified area during which they are contacted by an officer. They are asked for a drivers license, along with inquires to see if they have been drinking that evening. During contact, drivers are often handed information sheets or ribbons as an educational tool to reinforce the negative consequences of drunk driving. Representatives from many organizations are often present at these checkpoints, including MADD, outside law enforcement agencies as well as the news media.

    Fortunately, many drivers do not drink and drive and the contact is a positive one. If a driver is found to have been drinking, they are directed to a Secondary Area where they are tested. If arrested, their license is taken from them and the car impounded. The license, being property of Department of Motor Vehicles, is returned to DMV along with an attached notice. A temporary ‘Admin Per Se’ driving form is issued to the driver, which allows driving and appeal rights for 30 days. Thereafter, the license is automatically suspended per DMV.
    Questions regarding the law on Driving Under the Influence, and your obligations regarding those offenses, can be found beginning with 23152{a} of the California Vehicle Code {VC} thru 23249.50 VC.

    If you have any other questions regarding DUI Checkpoints, please contact the Traffic Division at {619} 441-1632 and every attempt will be made to assist you.

  • I received a Parking Ticket, yet my neighbors car did not for the same violation. Why did this occur?

    Parking enforcement is a major task for the Traffic Division and can be overwhelming in the sheer number of violators. The reason a particular vehicle is cited and another by-passed can be due to a number of factors. These include: Number of complaints on a selected vehicle, limitation of time on behalf of the citing officer, previous markings by an officer on a particular problem vehicle, vehicles selected by priority in terms of the seriousness of the violation and finally, the officer was called away prior to completing all of the tasks on that specific street.

    Additional information can be found on the back of the Parking Ticket.

  • My vehicle was impounded for 30 days. In the past, I had a vehicle impounded for only 24 hours. Why the difference?

    The most common reason a vehicle is impounded for 30 days is a Driver’s License violation. This is explained via Sections 22651{a} thru {t} of the California Vehicle Code {VC}, as well as 22651.3 thru 22658 VC. This book is available at your local library. Additional sections to assist you are 14601{a} thru 14610 VC, which explain common license violations as well as impounds for those offenses.

    Additional reasons for 30 day impounds include Reckless Driving or Drag Racing. These offenses begin at 23103 VC and beyond.

    Examples of a 24 Hour Impounds are: Expired registration tags over {6} months, select parking violations, expired drivers license over {30} days, as well as drivers arrested for a criminal offense while in possession of the vehicle.

    Examples of 30 Day Impounds are: Suspended or Revoked drivers license with prior offenses, engaging in a Speed Contest {Drag Racing}, no Driver’s License issued with prior contacts for same offense {Never had a driver’s license issued during lifetime} as well as vehicles impounded as evidence during a criminal investigation {Hit & Run, for example}.

    There are many other reasons for impounding a vehicle, but these are among the most common. If you have questions, it is always best to ask the officer at the time of impound as to the reason for the seizure. You are also welcome to call the El Cajon Traffic Division at {619} 441-1632 for more information.

  • Speeding is a major problem on my street. How can I get assistance from the Traffic Division?

    Speeding is a major cause of accidents and one the primary areas of concern for all traffic personnel. Whenever possible, streets that receive a notable number of complaints receive immediate attention. This may be through simple radar enforcement, use of the Radar Trailer or by teams of officers working together to reduce a particular problem. All of this takes a significant number of man-hours per day and is dependant on staffing and the specific problem being addressed. A chart is maintained that logs in specific complaints. Each area is given attention, depending availability of officers and the number of hours needed to address the problem.

  • The police are stopping me, what do I do next?

    First of all, you’re supposed to pull over to the right-hand edge or curb of the highway, clear of an intersection, and stop. Some people get confused and stop in the lane of traffic, creating a very dangerous situation. Others make left turns into private driveways or businesses, still others continue on their way, thinking the sirens aren’t for them.

    None of those last few examples are of course the correct thing to do, and could lead to additional violations being charged.

    After you’re stopped, the Officer will make contact with you, during which time you should be advised why you are being stopped. You are required to furnish the Officer with your driver’s license 12951(a) and (section 12951(b) California Vehicle Code [CVC]) and the vehicle’s registration card, or a copy of that document. You should NEVER keep your Certificate of Title in your car. That is your proof of ownership of the vehicle. It doesn’t validate your registration, and if someone else gets hold of it, they could try and claim the car as theirs.

    You could be warned for the offense(s) you committed, or issued a citation. If you are issued a citation, the Officer will explain what you’re being cited for and then ask you to sign the citation. The citation will have all of the pertinent information on it, including: the date and time of the violation, your name, the offense(s) you’re being cited for, the location of the offense(s), the Officer’s name, and applicable court dates and information. Signing the citation ISN’T AN ADMISSION OF GUILT, MERELY A PROMISE TO APPEAR. If you refuse to sign the citation, you can be arrested 40302(b) CVC and your car could be towed (22651(h)(1) CVC).

  • What can I do about my noisy neighbors?

    A noisy neighbor may create a disturbance by having a loud television, stereo, or radio. These types of complaints are best handled by a local police station because the loud noise is intermittent, occasional, or spontaneous. A loud party is also best resolved by the officers assigned to the area.

  • What do I do if I found a pet?

    If you have found a pet in the City of El Cajon or La Mesa, please bring it to the El Cajon Shelter. Pets are considered personal property. The shelter is the first place people look for their lost pets. If the pet has a microchip, we will scan the animal and be able to contact the owner directly.

    Should the owner not claim their pet, you may sign up to adopt the pet yourself. Stray animals are usually adoptable after 4 days.

    Also check the shelter’s Lost book and bulletin board,craigslist, and newspaper lost and found to help reunite the pet and the owner.

    If you physically cannot bring the animal in, call 619-579-3311 and a dispatcher will send an Animal Control Officer to pick up the animal.

    Within the La Mesa city limits, please contact 619-667-1400 and a dispatcher will send the La Mesa Animal Control Officer to pick up the animal.

  • What do I do if I lost a pet?

    If you have lost a pet, please come to the shelter and look in person. We cannot tell you what animals are here over the phone. Lost and Stray animals continually come into the shelter.

    We scan all animals for a microchip when they come into the shelter. If it has a chip or comes in with tags, we will contact you. Please make sure your information is current with the microchip company.

    Animals that come into the shelter as strays usually go up for adoption after 4 days. The days we are closed are not counted.

    Other things to help in your search:

    • Post an ad in the local paper
    • Place flyers in your neighborhood
    • Bulletin board at the Shelter where you may post your lost pet information alongwith a picture no larger than 4”x5”
    • Look through a listing in the found book at the shelter.

    Pets can travel long distances in a short amount of time. Please contact the other shelters outside of El Cajon as your pet may have been picked up in their jurisdiction.

    • San Diego County Animal Services, Bonita
      • 5821 Sweetwater Road
      • 619-236-425
      • Lakeside and unincorporated areas
    • San Diego Humane Society   
      • 5480 Gaines St.
      • 619-299-7012
      • Imperial Beach, City of San Diego and Santee
    • Chula Vista Animal Shelter, Chula Vista,
      • 130 Beyer Way
      • 619-691-5123
      • Lemon Grove, National City, Chula Vista

  • What do I need to license my dog?

    New License
    Licenses are based on the current and past rabies vaccinations. For a puppy or a dog you have just obtained with no prior medical records, the rabies vaccine is good for 1 year.
    Renew License
    All subsequent rabies vaccinations are good for three years. We must have proof of a prior rabies vaccine as well as the new rabies vaccine. Your vet will fill out a form with the rabies information and date and sign it.
    Please bring a current CA driver’s license or ID, past records of rabies vaccination, record of spay/neuter.
  • What happens if I have been arrested for suspicion of driving while under the influence of alcohol?

    If you have been arrested for suspicion of drunk driving, you are required by California State Law to submit to a chemical test to determine the amount of alcohol in your blood (implied consent law – 23157 CVC (23157 (a) (1)). The three tests that are offered are:

    • Blood,
    • Urine or
    • Breath

    One or more of these tests may not be available due to special circumstances (i.e. injury to driver, etc.).

    If you select a blood test a nurse or phlebotomist will draw a blood sample and the sample will be analyzed at a lab on a later date. If you select a urine test you will be required to give two samples in a 20-minute period. The 1st sample is used to void the bladder and it is discarded. After a period of 20 minutes, a 2nd sample will be collected and analyzed for alcohol at a later date. If you select a breath test, you will be required to blow into a Breathalyzer machine twice to complete the test. The results of this test are available immediately. Should you refuse or fail to complete a test, your privilege to drive will be automatically be suspended for one (1) year by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

    After the testing, if your test results show you have a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or more, your license will be taken away on the spot. An Administrative “PER SE” (in and of itself) order of suspension 13353.2 CVC (13353.2 (a)) is given. This is a driver’s license suspension, which is issued by the officer at the time of arrest. (You will be given a 30-day temporary driving permit to allow for review and appeal of your case to the DMV). The suspension becomes effective 30 days after it is issued.

    Upon completion of implied consent, you will either be cited (given a court date) and released to a detox facility (rehabilitation facility) or taken to the county jail.
  • What happens when I am stopped for driving while under the influence?

    If you have been stopped and are suspected of driving while under the influence, the officer will be looking for objective symptoms of intoxication. Some of these objective symptoms are the odor of an alcoholic beverage, bloodshot or watery eyes, slurred speech or unsteady balance.

    If the officer notices these objective symptoms, the officer will then administer field sobriety tests. The officer will be looking at basic coordination, balance, and concentration. A Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) test may also be administered in the field.

    If you have passed the field sobriety tests, the officer at his/her discretion can call a taxi, have a friend to drive you home, or let you drive away.
  • What if I no longer want to prosecute the perpetrator for the crime case?

    There are cases when the victim of a crime case determines that they no longer desire to proceed with further criminal action. Generally, it is within the victim’s right to file a “No Prosecution” form. This process will cancel the investigative and prosecution process.

  • What Is 911?

    9-1-1 is the number to call when you have an emergency! An emergency is when something happens and you need Police, Fireman, and an Ambulance. You should only call 9-1-1 in a real Emergency, never call 9-1-1 as a joke.
  • What is the Crime Free Multi-Housing Program

    The CRIME FREE MULTI-HOUSING PROGRAM is a unique, three-phase certification program for rental properties of all sizes, including single family rental homes. The first phase is the completion of an eight (8) hour program taught by attorneys, police and fire personnel. Frequently, guest speakers will also attend to address specific topics relating to rental properties. This police sponsored program is designed to be very easy, yet extremely effective, at reducing criminal activity in rental properties.

    The CRIME FREE MULTI-HOUSING PROGRAM addresses these topics:

    • Understanding Crime Prevention
    • Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (C.P.T.E.D.)
    • Resident Selection and Eviction Process
    • Common Sense Self Defense
    • Community Rules/Policies
    • Building Apartment Communities
    • Good Property Management
    • Combating Illegal Activity (Drugs, Gangs, Graffiti, Etc.)
    • Partnership with the Police Department
    • Partnership with the Fire Department
    • Dealing with Non-Compliance
    • The Federal Fair Housing Laws 

    The CRIME FREE MULTI-HOUSING PROGRAM is taught during two four-hour, or one eighthour, training session(s). The program is designed to be flexible, as many communities have differingneeds.

  • What is the difference between a Motorcycle Officer and a Traffic Officer who drives a car?

    Motorcycle Officers normally specialize in traffic enforcement via radar as well as target specific problem areas of the city where collisions occur. Their ability to maneuver easily makes them ideal for this purpose. They also work special events, where space and rapid response is critical. Examples of this are the San Diego Stadium or various parade events.

    A Traffic Officer assigned to a car also works traffic enforcement, but spends the majority of his time as an investigator of collisions. Such officers also work Hit & Run collisions, as well as more serious accident scenes.

  • What is the investigative status of my crime report?

    You can call the Investigations Division to determine the investigative status of your crime report. They will be able to tell you if the case was assigned to a detective and if any leads have been developed. The Investigations Division telephone number is (619) 579-3320.

  • What is the law regarding loud vehicle alarms?

    The law regarding loud vehicle theft alarm systems is contained in the California Vehicle Code, Section 22651.5, which states that a police officer may, upon complaint, remove a vehicle if the vehicle theft alarm system has been activated for 20 minutes upon the officer’s arrival, and the alarm has not silenced within that time. The local patrol division would be the ones to handle this type of request for service.
  • What should I do if I witness a crime in progress?

     Be as observant as possible and make mental notes of the following:

    • What is actually happening?
    • Is anyone being injured or has anyone been injured?
    • Are there any weapons involved?
    • The location where the crime is occurring.
    • What is the address or the name of the cross-streets?
    • Has the person(s) who committed the crime left the scene?
    • Was the person(s) on foot or in a vehicle?
    • What direction did the person(s) leave?
    • What is a description of the vehicle(s)?
    • Who is involved?
    • The number of people involved.
    • Their names if you know them.
    • Any relevant clothing descriptions.
    • Any distinctive physical characteristics such as height, weight, race, beards, scars etc.
  • What to do if I see a dead animal in the roadway

    The City of El Cajon uses Dead Animal Removal (DAR) to remove deceased animals from the roadway. DAR can reached directly at 619-390-8204 or you can call the ECPD Communications Center at 619-579-3311.
  • What To Do When 911 Answers

    1. Remember to stay calm and speak clearly.
    2. Tell the 911 dispatcher your name, phone number, and address.
    3. Tell the 911 dispatcher what the emergency is.
    4. Stay on the line until the dispatcher tells you to hang up.
  • When should I call 911?

      • Any serious medical emergency; chest pains, seizures, bleeding, etc.
      • Any crime in-progress: robbery, burglary, prowler, fights, etc.
      • Any type of fire: structure, vehicle, brush, etc.
      • Any other life threatening situations: traffic accidents, etc.
  • When should I expect to be contacted by the Police Department?

    There are various factors in determining the length of a crime case. First, the procedural processing of a crime case varies from one to fourteen days, depending on the severity of the case and workload demands. Second, the detective is investigating your crime case in conjunction with dozens of other very important cases. You will be contacted when the detective requires additional information or there is a status development. This entire process may take several weeks to conclude.

  • Will I be contacted by a detective?

    You will be contacted by either a detective or a representative of the Police Department. The purpose of the contact will be for one of two reasons. First, you may be contacted to inquire if additional information is available which may assist in the arrest of the perpetrator. Second, you may be contacted to be advised of an arrest or closure of the crime case.