Frequently Asked Questions
The Police Department receives many telephone calls and requests for information from the public. In "Our Frequently Asked Questions" section we hope to answer many of the common questions you may have about the Atascadero Police Department.
Please click on one of the following areas of interest:
When is the Atascadero Police Department open?
The Police Department operates 24 hours a day, seven (7) days a week. The Property and Evidence Unit hours of operation are M-Th 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Does the Police Department have a Lost and Found?
If you have lost/found something, the first step is to complete an incident report by using the online crime reporting link on the Police Department’s home page or by visiting the Police Department at 5505 El Camino Real. If you've found an item, it should be brought in to the Police Department. Found property that can not immediately be identified will be secured in our property room and will be properly disposed of after the appropriate time period.
Should I call the police if I see something suspicious or unusual in my neighborhood?
Yes! Police frequently rely on tips from citizens to help them focus enforcement action in an area or on a person(s) that has been identified by citizens as being suspicious or unusual.
How do I register a gun?
The Police Department does not register firearms. Private gun dealers will complete the necessary state forms for you for a fee.
How do I obtain a “Carry Concealed Weapons” permit?
Please contact the Office of the Chief of Police at 461-5051 to obtain further information regarding this process.
Do you offer Live Scan or ink fingerprinting to the public?
Yes, by appointment only, with a completed application and a photo ID. Please contact the Police Department at 461-5051 to make an appointment. There will be a fee of $30.00 payable by cash or check only.
How do I get a “good conduct” or clearance letter?
We will need a valid state issued photo I.D. and home address to run a records check. The clearance is for an Atascadero Police Department database search only, and is not checked by fingerprints. There is a charge of $18.00 per letter.
How can I retrieve my property that was booked at the Police Department?
Property will only be released to its rightful owner. To retrieve property, you must make an appointment between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. with the Property and Evidence Specialist. Please call 461-5051 to make an appointment.
How do I find out if any registered sex offenders live in my neighborhood?
Information on registered sex offenders is available via the California Megan's Law website at www.meganslaw.ca.gov.
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How to obtain or make a police report
What information should I provide when calling the police to report an incident?
If you are reporting an in-progress incident that is an emergency situation please call 911. The dispatcher will ask you for as much information as possible regarding the circumstances while simultaneously dispatching police and/or fire and medic units to the location. It is important to provide the dispatcher with an accurate account of what you saw, who the involved parties are (if that is known), what they are wearing, the last known direction and mode of travel, and if any weapons were seen. If the suspects are fleeing the area in a vehicle and you are able to provide the license plate number and a description of the vehicle that information can be particularly helpful to responding officers.
If you are reporting an incident that is a non-emergency situation please call 461-5051. A dispatcher will take the information from you and dispatch officers to the location as soon as they become available. It is important to provide the dispatcher with a brief account of what occurred, a description or names of the involved parties, the address where the incident occurred, and the address where you would like the officer to meet with you if that location is different than the incident location.
How do I file a police report?
To report an emergency situation please dial 911. Non-emergency calls should be reported by calling (805) 461-5051. !-Reports may also be made online by clicking HERE.-->
I was told I need a case number. How do I get one?
Police case numbers are only issued when an official crime report is made. To make an official crime report you may use the online crime reporting link on the Police Department home page, come to the police station, or call police dispatch at (805) 461-5051 to request an officer respond to your location or speak with an officer via telephone. After the report is taken, you should ask the officer for their name and the case number for your records.
How do I get a case number for something I’ve already reported?
You can get a case number for an already reported incident by calling the Dispatch at (805) 461-5051. We will need to know what kind of an incident occurred, and the date, time, and location to look it up for you.
How do I get a copy of a police report?
Access to police reports is restricted. If you feel you are entitled to a copy of a police report, you will need to complete an application. If a juvenile (under the age of 18) is involved, an additional or different application form may also be required. You or your insurance representative/attorney may also request a copy the report for a fee. Please contact Dispatch Unit at 461-5051 for more information. A report release request form can be obtained by clicking HERE
How much will a copy of my report cost me?
The cost of a report depends on the type of report and also the number of pages it includes. Typically the first page of the report is $0.50 and each additional page is $0.10.
I want to get copy of my police report to prepare for my court appearance next month. Why can’t I get it?
We cannot release your report prior to review by the District Attorney. You will receive a copy of your report on your first court date (your arraignment).
How do I find out the status of my case?
The best person to call is the officer or detective assigned to your case. If you know the officer’s name, contact them at (805) 461-5051, and leave a message referencing the case number and your specific question. Remember, with some shifts, it may be several days before they come back to work, research the case, and call you back. If you don’t have the case number or the officer’s name, call us at (805) 461-5051 and we’ll get the information needed so you can leave a message with the officer. All of the officers have voicemail. You may call the number above and request to be transferred to an officer's voicemail.
Can I add something to my report or have something changed?
Content of reports cannot be changed once they are submitted for approval however any additional information or changes requested can be added in a supplemental report. Supplemental reports can be made by any officer regardless of who the initial reporting officer was. To make a supplemental report please contact dispatch at 461-5051.
I reported a crime, but the person who did it was never charged. Why?
The decision to file charges or not is something that the Police Department does not have control over. While we may accurately document the facts of a crime, including your statements and make a logical identification of someone as being responsible, it is ultimately the decision of the District Attorney to decide whether or not to file a criminal complaint. If your case was not filed you should contact the officer or detective involved and discuss the matter with them. They may also be able to share with you the rationale, if provided, of the District Attorney’s declination of complaint.
How do I report a vehicle that has been abandoned?
Write down a description of the vehicle, the license plate number and the address nearest to where it is parked. Call our business line at 461-5051 with the information. If the vehicle is determined to be on public right of way our traffic volunteers will attempt to contact to the owner, post a notice on the vehicle for 72 hour abatement, then follow up by towing the vehicle if it is not moved within the 72 hour time frame.
At what hour can I complain about a loud party or noise?
Noise violations can occur at any hour and may include noise sources such as loud parties, motorcycles, leaf blowers, construction etc. Commercial areas generally have less restrictive noise regulations.
Who should I contact regarding an ongoing issue with a barking or loose dog?
When availability allows, APD officers are able to respond and attempt to resolve a barking or loose dog complaint. This is only a temporary solution to the problem. You are encouraged to contact SLO County Animal Services at 781-4400 to seek a more permanent solution to an ongoing problem.
Who should I contact regarding other loose animals?
If the animal is loose in or near the roadway causing a traffic hazard, APD officers will respond and attempt to contain the animal.
I think my dog may have been picked up by APD officers after it was found running loose. How do I get it back?
All domestic animals captured by APD officers are turned over to SLO Animal Services. Contact them at 781-4400 to inquire about your pet. Or visit the SLO Animal Services website (CLICK HERE) for listings with photos of animals found currently at the shelter or found and are being cared for by private citizens.
What restrictions are there pertaining to riding dirt bikes within city limits?
Per 9-6.106(c) of the Atascadero Municipal Code the following restrictions apply to riding dirt bikes within the city limits:
Mini-bike, motorcycle, dirt bike or similar two (2) or more wheel motor vehicle riding is allowed subject to the following limitations:
Who should I contact regarding code violations?
Please contact Code Enforcement at 461-5070 for issues related to weed abatement, building code violations, unsafe residences, and other related issues.
Traffic Related Issues:
What can I do about traffic safety problems in my neighborhood?
If you are concerned about speeding, drivers running stop signs or parking problems, please contact the Traffic Unit by calling the Police Department at 461-5051.
How can I get a copy of my accident report?
If a report was taken, you must be named as a party involved in the accident or an insurer of the named party in order to obtain a copy of the report. Please bring photo identification. A report release fee will be charged. The report may also be obtained online by clicking HERE.
How do I get a ticket signed off?
If you have received a “fix it” ticket you may have it signed off at the Atascadero Police Department at 5505 El Camino Real by an officer. Please have with you your ticket, photo ID, and your repaired vehicle. There will be a $20.00 fee payable by cash or check only.
How do I contest/appeal a parking citation?
The Section 40215 of the California Vehicle Code sets forth uniform procedures for contesting parking citations. These procedures include several time periods that must be carefully adhered to. A Parking Citation Appeal form can be obtained here or at the Police Department. Please contact the Traffic Unit at 461-5051 for more information.
Can I pay my parking ticket at the front counter?
Yes, you can pay for your Atascadero Police Department issued parking citations at APD. Cash or checks accepted only.
My car was towed. How can I find out where it is?
You can call us anytime at (805) 461-5051. We need to know the license plate number or VIN (vehicle identification number) for the vehicle. We will also need the approximate time and location from where it was towed.
How do I claim a towed or impounded vehicle?
Vehicles can only be released to the registered/legal owners. Proper identification and all pertinent paperwork must be presented at the time of release. A $60 release fee will also be collected prior to the release of the vehicle. Thirty day stored vehicles will not be released prior to 30 days without approval from a traffic officer. Please bring your identification and license plate number or case number with you. Vehicles will only be released to drivers with a valid license.
Do you offer child car seat inspections?
We do not currently offer child car seat inspections at our department however they are offered by the California Highway Patrol at any of their locations throughout the County.
Car Seats and Child Safety Restraints - What is the Law?
Many times our officers and dispatchers are asked to clarify the laws regarding transporting young children in a vehicle. Hopefully this will help to clarify what the California Vehicle Code (CVC) says regarding this matter.
California's New Child Passenger Safety Law effective January 1, 2012
California Law will require children to ride in the back seat in a properly secured child passenger safety restraint until they are at least 8 years old or until they are at least 4 feet 9 inches in height.
Court related information:
How can I find out when I am supposed to appear in Court?
Please contact the San Luis Obispo County Superior Court at 781-5143 for criminal matters or the Paso Robles Branch at (805) 237-3070 for traffic matters. This information may also be found by visiting the Court’s website at slocourts.net.
How do I get my juvenile record sealed?
In order to have a juvenile record sealed please contact Juvenile Probation at (805) 781-5300 to start the process.
How do I access my own criminal history?
To receive a copy of a criminal history record, individuals must submit Live Scan* or ink fingerprints along with a $25 fee to the California Department of Justice.
For a complete criminal history, contact:
California Department of Justice
Record Review Unit
PO Box 903417
Sacramento CA 94203-4170
*If you live in California, you must use the Live Scan fingerprint process.
How do I find out the disposition of a case?
Depending on the type of case, this information may be available from the Records Unit if the case was not submitted for prosecution, or you may need to contact one or more of the following:
Superior Court (805) 781-5670
District Attorney’s Office (805) 781-5800
Probation Dept. (805) 781-5300
Warrants and other arrest related issues:
How do I find out if I have a warrant?
Warrant information can only be given to the person with the warrant after they have appeared in person at the Department and shown proper identification. Please be aware that if you do have a warrant that is not cite-release authorized, you may be taken into custody and held until you can post bail or you are released. You may also contact the Records and Warrants Unit of the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department at (805) 781-4588. Limited information (such as the charges, bail amount, issuing agency, etc.) on adult warrants may be available.
How can I find out if someone else has a warrant?
This information cannot be obtained from the Police Department. Please contact the court in the county where you believe the person in question committed the crime to obtain this information.
How can I take care of a warrant for my arrest?
That depends on the warrant. For most traffic warrants, the issuing magistrate will allow us to cite-release persons with outstanding warrants. A cite-release on a warrant allows the officer to issue the suspect a citation with a new appearance date. That will clear the warrant from the system.
Sometimes, due to circumstances beyond our control, the magistrate may require bail, which you will have to post in the form of a bond in order to be released. Of course, if you are taken into custody and booked, your warrant is automatically cleared. Note that warrants are issued by the Court, and not us, and may be re-issued by the Court without notice or warning for a variety of reasons; the most common being “failure to appear” or “failure to pay a fine.”
I need to be booked and released. How do I have this done?
If you are instructed by the Court to be booked and released please bring your paperwork from the Court to the Police Department between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. and an officer will respond to the station to complete the process. It is a good idea to call 461-5051 before coming to the Police Department to ensure officer availability.
I received a citation for a warrant or a misdemeanor offense and the box that reads “Booking Required” is checked. What does this mean?
If this box is checked by the officer who issued you the citation you are required to come to the Police Department prior to your court appearance and to be booked and released. Please come to the Police Department between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to complete this process. It is a good idea to call 461-5051 before coming to the Police Department to ensure officer availability.
How can I find out if someone is in jail?
Although arrestees may be held in a detention cell at our facility temporarily they will quickly be transferred to the County Jail in San Luis Obispo. Please call the San Luis Obispo County Main Detention Facility at (805) 781-4600 or visit the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department website link http://www.slosheriff.org/WhoIsInCustody/Lookup.aspxto see if someone is in custody.
How do I arrange to bail someone out of jail?
Unless an arrestee has a probation or parole hold or has a “No Bail Status,” bail may be posted by paying to the San Luis Obispo County Jail the full amount in U.S. currency, cashier’s check, official bank check, certified check, or U.S. Postal Service money order made out to the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office. Personal checks or credit cards are not accepted. To post a bond as bail refer to your local telephone book for a list of bail bond agencies. Bail for out-of-county warrants may be posted in the same manner as listed above. Bail releases may take longer if the arrestee has been moved to a housing unit. For bail information on an inmate currently in custody call The San Luis Obispo County Jail at 805-781-4600.
How do I get a restraining order?
A restraining order is a civil process in which the person seeking the order makes an application to a magistrate to temporarily restrain, or restrict another person from doing something that would otherwise be perfectly legal behavior. While the obtaining of a restraining order is a civil process, there are numerous resources available to people, especially in cases of domestic violence, to simplify the process. In some extreme cases the police may make the application to a magistrate for an emergency protective order however this is only a temporary solution and the process of obtaining a more permanent order needs to be set into motion by the victim as soon as possible following the incident.
How can I find out if my restraining order was served?
If you are able to satisfactorily identify yourself as the protected party we will examine the document to see if your order shows proof of service.
How can I tell if my restraining order is still valid?
The expiration date of a restraining order is listed on the first page of the order. If you no longer have your copy, but can identify yourself as being the protected party, we can tell you if the order is still valid.
How can I find out if I have a restraining order out against me?
In order for a restraining order against you to be valid, you must have been served with a copy of the order. If you were served and the order is not expired or cancelled by the Court than it should be considered a valid order.
The restraining order against me states that I must move out of my residence or precludes me from going to my residence for any reason. How do I get my belongings?
A third party, not listed as a restrained party in the restraining order, must make arrangements with the person to whom control of the residence has been temporarily awarded to pick up the restrained person’s belongings. If requested, an officer can respond to the residence for a brief period of time to keep the peace during the transfer of property to the third party.
Click HERE to receive more information regarding how to obtain domestic violence restraining orders
Click HERE to receive more information regarding how to obtain civil restraining orders
Landlord / Tenant issues – Civil Problems
How do I go about evicting my tenant?
Questions regarding the eviction process should be directed to the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department Civil Division at 781-5484.
I need an officer to stand by while I retrieve my property from a residence I have vacated. How do I make arrangements for this?
Please contact the Police Department at 461-5051 prior to going to the residence to ensure that an officer will be available to meet with you. Once an officer is available they can stand by to keep the peace for a short period of time while you retrieve necessary items. Officer availability for a civil standby is dependent on other priority calls for service. Officers are not able to make determinations regarding lawful ownership of property in civil situations. They will not require one party to turn property over to the other if there is a dispute between the parties regarding the ownership.
I allowed another person to live at my residence temporarily. Now I would like them to leave however they are refusing to do so. Can an officer tell them to move out?
Once a person is allowed to take up residency, even for a short period of time, the owner of the residence is required by law to evict the person. For information on this process please contact the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department Civil Division at 781-5484.
I let someone borrow my vehicle and it was not returned at the agreed upon time. Can I report it stolen?
The vehicle cannot be considered stolen because it was entrusted to the other party through a verbal civil agreement. If the vehicle is not returned after an extended period of time it may be considered embezzled. Please contact APD dispatch at 461-5051 for further information.
If I make a civil agreement with another person or business and they do not uphold their end of the agreement can I report it to the Police Department?
Although officers are trained to offer advice and mediate civil matters, civil agreements are not a criminal matter and can therefore not be enforced by the Police Department. If you would like to seek the advice of an officer before consulting an attorney or filing a claim though civil court please contact APD dispatch at 461-5051.
Child Custody Issues:
Does the Police Department enforce child custody orders?
APD officers can offer guidance and explanations of custody orders to help facilitate peaceful exchanges between custodial parties. If requested, APD officers can stand by at a custody exchange to keep the peace if there is an anticipated issue between the involved parties. Typically, if both custodial parties have been awarded some type of physical or legal custody officers will not physically take custody of a child and turn that child over to the other parent if the parent having immediate physical custody objects to the exchange.
What do I do if the other custodial party refuses to turn my child over to me as directed in the custody order?
If you attempt to exchange custody and the other party refuses to complete the exchange you have a few options.
I made a verbal agreement with my child’s other parent to switch days in violation of our custody order. Now the other parent will not do the exchange as we verbally agreed even though I already upheld my end of the verbal agreement. What do I do?
Verbal agreements made in violation of custody orders are not enforceable. The best way to avoid this situation is to adhere to the orders set forth by the Court regarding days and times for custody allowed to each custodial party.
Information on how to contact other agencies in the County:
P.O. Box 32/1525 Kansas Avenue
San Luis Obispo, CA 93406-0032
California Highway Patrol
P.O. Box 898/675 California Blvd.
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401-2591
885 Oklahoma Ave.
San Luis Obispo, CA 93405
Department of Motor Vehicles
3190 South Higuera St.
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
County Government Center
2176 Johnson Avenue
San Luis Obispo, CA 93408
Fish and Game
1234 E. Shaw Avenue
Fresno, CA 93710
(559) 243-4005 ext. 151
Pacific Wildlife Care
PO Box 3257
San Luis Obispo, CA 93406
Atascadero Fire Department
Station 1 6005 Lewis Ave.
Station 2 9801 West Front
Atascadero, CA 93422
San Luis Obispo County Jail
1585 Kansas Ave.
San Luis Obispo, CA 93405
Driving directions: When traveling on Highway 101 north or south of San Luis Obispo, take the Morro Bay/Highway 1 exit, following the signs to Morro Bay. Make a right on Santa Rosa/Highway 1 and proceed three miles north of San Luis Obispo. Turn left on Kansas Avenue and follow Kansas Avenue until you reach the jail which is the last building on the left.
Atascadero Police Department Fee Schedule
Address: 6500 Palma AvePhone: (805) 461-5000Fax: (805) 461-7612Contact Page: www.atascadero.org/contactus
Address: 5505 El Camino RealPhone: (805) 461-5051Fax: (805) 461-3702Website: www.atascadero.org/Police
Address: 6005 Lewis AvePhone: (805) 461-5070Fax: (805) 466-2907Website: www.atascadero.org/Fire
Address: 5599 Traffic WayPhone: (805) 470-3360Fax: (805) 461-7612Website: www.atascadero.org/communitycenter
Address: 9315 Pismo AvePhone: (805) 461-5005Fax: (805) 461-5026Website: www.paviliononthelake.com
Address: 9305 Pismo AvePhone: (805) 461-5080Fax: (805) 461-7625Website: www.charlespaddockzoo.org
Address: 8005 Gabarda RdPhone: (805) 461-5000Fax: (805) 461-5022Website: www.atascadero.org/wwtp
6500 Palma Ave, Atascadero, CA 93422 | Tel: (805) 461-5000 | Fax: (805) 461-7612 | © 2011 - City of Atascadero
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