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General Policy Information


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Audit, Policy & Research Unit Manual

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Cross Reference

Latest Revision Date: 12/1/2014

Title 1 - Department Administration

1.010 - Authority and Jurisdiction

1.020 - Chain of Command

1.030 - Department Span of Control Chart

1.040 - Budget

1.050 - Grants

1.060 - Consultant Contract Administration

1.070 - Training

1.080 - Inspection and Audits

1.090 - Ticket Chain of Custody

1.100 - Ticket Audits

1.110 - Media Relations

Title 2 - Department Employment

2.020 - Appointments and Probation

2.030 - Retirements and Separations

2.050 - Collective Bargaining and Contract Management

2.060 - Grievances

2.070 - Performance Evaluations

Title 3 - Employee Welfare

3.035 - Reasonable Accommodation (ADA)

3.040 – Airborne Pathogens Control

3.045 - Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control

3.050 - Coordinating Officer Fatalities

3.070 - Performance Mentoring Program

3.080 - Travel Training System

3.090 - Employee Recognition Awards Program

3.170 - Honoring Those Killed in the Line of Duty

3.270 - Police Charity Committee

3.290 - Pre-Service/In-Service and Specialized Training

3.330 - Workplace Safety

3.340 - Employee Involvement Committees_JLMC

Title 4 - Human Resources

4.000 - Employee Move Tracking System (EMT)

4.005 - Police Employee Data System (PEDS)

4.010 - Employee Time Off

4.015 - Restricted Time Off for a Pre-Planned Event

4.020 - Reporting and Recording Overtime/Out of Classification Pay

4.030 - Jury Duty

4.040 - Sick Leave

4.050 - On-Duty Illness or Injury

4.060 - Long Term Disability Benefits

4.070 - Limited Duty Assignments

4.080 - Pregnancy

4.090 - Leave of Absence Without Pay

4.100 – Family and Medical Leave

4.110 - Sick Leave Donation

4.120 - Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking Leave

4.130 - Military Leave

4.140 - Military Spouse/Domestic Partner Leave

4.150 - Funeral Leave

Title 5 - Employee Conduct

5.001 - Standards and Duties

5.002 - Responsibilities of Employees Concerning Complaints of Possible Misconduct

5.010 - Civil Actions

5.020 - Gifts and Gratuities

5.030 - Preparing for Criminal Case Interviews

5.040 - EEO Complaints and Investigations

5.060 - Employee Political Activity

5.090 - Operations Bureau General Personnel Matters

5.100 - Operations Bureau Individual Responsibilities

5.120 - Secondary Employment

5.130 - Supervisor/Employee Relationships

5.140 - Bias-Free Policing

Bias-Free Policing Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

5.150 - Use of Private Vehicles for City Business

5.160 - Citizen Observation of Officers

5.170 - Alcohol and Substance Use

5.175 - Critical Incident Stress Management Communications

5.190 - Court Appearances and Legal Proceedings

5.200 - Americans With Disabilities Act

Title 6 - Arrests, Search and Seizure

6.010 - Reporting Arrests and Detentions

6.020 - Arrests and Detentions of Foreign Nationals

6.030 - Body Cavity Searches

6.060 - Collection of Information for Law Enforcement Purposes

6.120 - Impounding Vehicles

6.130 - Informant Management

6.135 - Cooperating Witnesses

6.140 - Locating a Cell Phone during an Emergency

6.150 - Advising Persons of Miranda

6.180 - Searches-General

6.181 - Performing Inventory Searches

6.185 - Search Warrants

6.210 - Strip Searches

6.220 - Voluntary Contacts, Terry Stops & Detentions

6.250 - Use of Non-SPD Canines

6.280 - Warrant Arrests

6.290 - Juvenile Investigations and Arrests

Title 7 - Evidence and Property

7.010 - Submitting Evidence

7.020 - Found Property

7.030 - Firearms & Shell Casings

7.040 - Dangerous or Hazardous Evidence

7.050 - Checking Out Evidence for Court

7.060 - Releasing Evidence

7.070 - Converting Evidence for Department Use

7.080 - Money Evidence

7.090 - Photographic Evidence

7.100 - Fingerprint Evidence

7.110 - Recorded Statements

7.120 - Narcotics Evidence

7.130 – Narcotics Training Aid and Investigative Use Drug Property Release

7.140 – Firearm Training Aid and Investigative Use

7.150 - Non-Detainee Property for Safekeeping

Title 8 - Use of Force

8.000 - Use of Force Core Principles

8.050 - Use of Force Definitions

8.100 - Using Force

8.200 - Use of Force Tools

8.210 - OC Chain of Custody

8.300 - Use of Force Reporting and Investigation

Use of Force Public Safety Statement Card

Investigating Supervisor Scene Guide

Investigating Supervisor Precinct Guide

Investigating Supervisor Documentation Guide

Involved Officer Statement Guide

Witness Officer Statement Guide

8.400 - Reviewing Use of Force

Reviewing Lieutenant Guide

Reviewing Captain Guide

8.500 - Firearms Discharge Investigations

Officer Involved Shooting-Public Safety Statement Card

8.600 - Review of Firearms Discharges

Use-of-Force Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Title 9 - Equipment and Uniforms

9.010 - Employee Dress Standards

9.020 - Uniform

9.030 - Equipment

Equipment Reference Catalog

9.040 - Uniform and Equipment Committee

9.050 - Clothing Allowance and Reimbursement for Personal Property

9.060 - Firearms

9.065 - Firearms Training and Qualification

9.100 - Department Firearms Management

Title 10 - Police Facilities & Security

10.010 - Parking at Department Facilities

10.020 - Physical Security of Police Facilities

10.060 - Holding Cell Camera System

Title 11 - Detainee Management

11.010 - Detainee Management in Department Facilities

11.020 - Transportation of Detainees

11.030 - Guarding Detainees at a Hospital

11.040 - Booking Adult Detainees

11.050 - Detainee Property

Title 12 - Department Information Systems

12.010 - Communications

12.030 - Computer Hardware & Devices

12.040 - Computer Software

12.045 - Booking Photo Comparison Software

12.050 - Criminal Records

12.055 - Criminal Justice Research

12.060 - Department Forms Control

12.070 - Department Publications

12.080 - Department Records Access, Inspection & Dissemination

12.090 - Departmental Correspondence

12.091 - Mobile Reporting Entity (MRE) Laptops

12.110 - Use of Department E-mail & Internet Systems

12.111 - Use of Cloud Storage Services

12.120 - Telephone and Facsimile Machine Use

Title 13 - Vehicle Operations

13.010 - Collisions Involving Department Vehicles

13.015 - Collision Review Board

13.030 - Emergency Vehicle Operations

13.031 - Vehicle Eluding/Pursuits

13.040 - Patrol Operations Equipment, Police Vehicles and Facilities

13.050 - Policing by Mountain Bike

13.060 - Specialty Vehicles & Equipment

13.080 - Use of Department Vehicles

Title 14 - Emergency Operations

14.010 - After-Action Reports

14.040 - Hazardous Conditions

14.060 - Serious Incident Plan

14.070 - Serious Injury or Fatality to a Police Officer

14.080 - Task Force Mobilization

14.090 - Demonstration Management

ICS Debrief Form

14.100 - Special Event Planning

Title 15 - Primary Investigation

15.010 - Arson Investigations

15.015 – Bomb Threats and Explosive Devices

15.020 - Charge by Officer

15.055 - Death Investigations

15.080 - Follow-up Unit Notification and Follow-up Investigation

15.090 - Graffiti Incidents

15.100 - Kidnapping

15.120 - Malicious Harassment

15.130 - Missing Persons

15.140 - Narcotics Activity Report

15.150 - Narcotics

15.160 - Marijuana Enforcement

15.180 - Primary Investigations

15.185 - Vulnerable Adults-Elder Abuse and Neglect

15.190 - Theft and Recovery of Vehicle, License Plates, or License Tabs

15.200 - Retail Theft Program

15.210 - Investigating Property Held by a Pawnshop or Used-Goods Store

15.215 - Domestic Violence Firearms Surrender

15.220 - Child Welfare

15.230 - Animal Control

15.240 - Boating Accidents

15.250 - Interpreters/Translators

15.260 - Collision Investigations

15.270 - Trespass Warning Program

15.275 - Enforcing Trespass in Parks

15.280 - DUI Investigations

15.290 - Stay Out of Areas of Prostitution (SOAP)

15.300 - Stay Out of Drug Areas (SODA)-Define Boundaries

15.310 - Foreign Nationals Seeking Asylum

15.320 - Police Action on Military Reservations

15.330 - Responding to Threats and Assaults on Officers

15.340 - Robbery Response

15.350 - Significant Incident Report

15.360 - Mobile Identification Devices

15.370 - Sexual Assault Investigation

Title 16 - Patrol Operations

16.010 - Adult Entertainment

16.020 - Alley Closure

16.030 - Citizen Rider Program

16.040 - Community Police Teams

16.050 - Death Notifications

16.070 - Responding to Monitored Alarms

16.080 - Fireworks Disposal and Disposition

16.090 - In Car Video System

16.091 - Body-Worn Video Pilot Program

16.100 - Patrol Training and Publications

16.110 - Crisis Intervention

16.130 - Sick and Injured Persons

16.135 - Excited Delirium

16.140 - Traffic Direction and Control

16.150 - Snow and Ice Plan

16.160 - Ticket Vendors

16.170 - Automatic License Plate Readers

16.180 - Patrol Operations Order

16.190 - Labor Management Disputes

16.230 - Issuing Tickets and Traffic Contact Reports

16.231 - Cancelling and Voiding Tickets

16.240 - Mutual Assistance

16.250 - Interaction with the University of Washington Police Department

6.120 Impounding Vehicles

Effective Date: 07/16/2014



This policy applies when impounding vehicles pursuant to investigations, arrests, and recoveries


1. Officers Shall Consider Alternatives to Impound

Officers may leave a vehicle at the scene of the incident if not needed for police purposes. The vehicle may be:

Officers are not required to exhaust all possible alternatives to impound and are not required to wait an unreasonable amount of time for alternatives to be carried out.

2. SECTOR trained officers may use the electronic Tow/Impound record.

Officers shall include a specific reason for impound on the tow/impound record.

Department personnel shall not use parking tickets for impounds.

3.Officers Shall Impound Vehicles When Arresting Drivers for Certain Crimes

Upon arrest of a driver for the crime of DUI or Physical Control, officers must impound the suspect’s vehicle pursuant to RCW 46.55.360.

See 6.120-TSK-2 Impounding a Vehicle for DUI Arrests

Exception: If the vehicle is a commercial vehicle (as defined by RCW 46.04.140) or a farm transport vehicle (as defined by RCW 46.55.360) and the driver is not the owner of the vehicle, the officer may release it to the owner, if reasonable to do so and only if the owner was not in it at the time of the stop.

Pursuant to RCW 9A.88.140, officers shall impound a vehicle if the driver is arrested for:

See 6.120-TSK-5 Impounding Vehicles for Sexual Abuse of a Minor

4. Officers May Impound Vehicles With Prior Notice

A vehicle may be impounded when it is in violation of any law, abandoned, or mechanically unsafe, and after 24 hours notice has been given, pursuant to SMC 11.30.060 – “When a vehicle may be impounded after notice”.

If none of the conditions in SMC 11.30.060 are met, a vehicle may be impounded after 72 hours notice has been given under SMC 11.72.440 – “Parking Enforcement”.

See 6.120-TSK-3 Impounding a Vehicle on a 72 Hour Notice

5. Officers May Impound Vehicles Without Prior Notice

A vehicle may be impounded with or without citation or prior notice if it falls within a category defined in SMC 11.30.040.

6. Officer Shall Inventory Vehicles Prior to Impound

Unless a vehicle is impounded on an investigatory hold, officers shall inspect and inventory items of value within the vehicle using the Washington State Impound/Tow Record.

7. Officers Exhaust Reasonable Alternatives Prior to Impounding Vehicles Operated by Drivers Without a Valid Driver's License or With Suspended (DWLS) or Revoked Licenses

Officers shall employ immediate and reasonable alternatives to impoundment (e.g. allowing a licensed passenger to take possession of the vehicle).

Officers shall not impound vehicles for DWLS 3rd violations unless other crimes are committed that warrant impoundment.

See 6.120-TSK-4 Impounding Vehicles for License Violations

8. Officers Shall Impound Vehicles Into the Vehicle Processing Room (VPR) for Limited Reasons

Vehicles impounded to the VPR shall be screened by a sergeant and escorted to the facility by an officer

See 6.120-TSK-6 Placing Vehicles into the Vehicle Processing Room

Vehicles impounded for the following circumstances shall be placed in the VPR:

9. Detectives Assigned to An Impounded Vehicle Case Shall Only Retain Vehicles As Long as Necessary to Complete Investigation or Prosecution

Investigative unit sergeants shall report dispositions on impounded vehicles to Record Files Unit - Auto Records Team upon request.

When the primary detective decides not to obtain a search warrant for the vehicle, they shall inventory the contents of the vehicle on the same day.

Exception: Contents of the trunk and locked containers shall not be opened for inventories.

Detectives shall arrange for vehicles ready for release from Department storage facilities to be transported to the tow company via Communications. They shall notify the owner of the location they can obtain their vehicle.

10. Detectives Assigned to Impounded Vehicle Cases Shall Determine When Vehicles are Improperly Impounded

SMC 11.30.180 outlines when the owner of a vehicle will be assessed impoundment, towing, and storage charges.

Detectives shall complete the “Hold Release” portion of the Investigatory Hold (form 5.53) and check the box indicating ‘City Pays’ if they determine a vehicle was improperly placed on an investigatory hold.

The detective shall notify their sergeant who will inform the impounding officer and their precinct/section captain of the violation via email.

11. Detectives Assigned to Impound Vehicle Cases May Release the Vehicle to Other Investigative Units

When the custody of the vehicle investigation is transferred from the original follow-up unit of assignment to the new follow-up unit, the original follow-up unit shall fill-out the Investigative Hold Tracking Form (form 5.53) with the following details:

  • GO Number
  • Date
  • Vehicle information section
  • Hold transfer section

12. Officers Shall Not Drive Impounded Vehicles

Additionally, officers will not drive impounded vehicles in or around the Vehicle Processing Room.

13. Vehicles Shall Only be Released to Owners from the Department Contracted Tow Lot

Detectives will arrange transport for vehicles in the VPR to the tow lot prior to notifying the owner of the release

14. Officers Do Not Recommend Tow Companies

Officers shall utilize Communications Section for impounds related to Department investigations.

For private tows, officers will refer to the city’s Licensed Tow Companies List



6.120-TSK-1-Impounding a Vehicle for Parking Violations

When Impounding Vehicles pursuant to a violation outlined in SMC 11.30.040 the officer:


1. Issues the vehicle a Parking Ticket.

2. Obtains the tow company’s truck number and driver name and writes in the appropriate box on the tow record.

Exception: Parking Enforcement Officers do not need to obtain the information in the "Authorization and Receipt" portion of the Tow/Impound Record.

3. Completes a WA state Tow/Impound form and leaves the driver and tow company copies with the vehicle.

4. Forwards the completed supervisor copy to Data Center.


6.120-TSK-2-Impounding a Vehicle for DUI Arrests

When Impounding Vehicles pursuant to a DUI arrest, the officer:


1. Requests a tow through Communications.

2. Completes a Uniform Tow/Impound and Inventory Record.

3. Checks the “DUI/PC IMPOUND” box in the top left corner of the form.

4. Writes “Hailey’s Law” and the crime driver was arrested for in the Narrative or Diagram portion of the form.

5. Obtains the tow company’s truck number and driver name and writes in the appropriate box on the tow record.

6. Provides the arrestee and tow company with their respective copies of the tow record.

7. Advises the arrested driver that only another registered owner or legal owner of the vehicle may redeem the vehicle within twelve hours.

8. Forwards the completed supervisor copy of the tow record to Data Center.


6.120-TSK-3-Impounding a Vehicle on a 72 Hour Notice

When Impounding Vehicles with prior notice the officer:


1. Verifies the vehicle is in violation of a law, abandoned, or mechanically unsafe.

2. Attaches a completed Notice of Violation – 72 Hour Parking form (8.5) to the driver’s side window or windshield of the vehicle.

3. Returns to the vehicle after the notice has lapsed and orders a tow.

4. Writes “72 hour notice attached on” and the date on the 72 Hour Parking form in the narrative portion of the tow record.

5. Obtains the tow company’s truck number and driver name and writes in the appropriate box on the tow record.

6. Completes a WA state Tow/Impound form and leaves the driver and tow company copies with the vehicle.

7. Forwards the completed supervisor copy to Data Center.


6.120-TSK-4-Impounding a Vehicle for License Violations

When Impounding Vehicles pursuant to a DWLS violation, the officer:


1. Requests a tow through Communications.

2. Completes a Washington State Tow/Impound and Inventory Record.

3. Checks the “DWLS IMPOUND” box in the top left corner and leaves the “DAY HOLD” portion blank.

4. Completes and provides the driver with the informational page and driver copy of the tow record packet.

5. Obtains the tow company’s truck number and driver name and writes in the appropriate box on the tow record.

6. Provides the tow company with their copy of the tow record.

7. Forwards the completed supervisor copy to Data Center.


6.120-TSK-5-Impounding a Vehicle for Sexual Abuse of a Minor

When Impounding Vehicles pursuant to crimes outlined in RCW 9A.88.140, the officer:

1. Completes a Uniform Tow/Impound and Inventory Record.

2. Checks the “EVIDENCE” box in the top left corner of the form.

3. Writes “VICE/Prostitution hold” and the appropriate reason for hold in the Narrative or Diagram portion of the form based on the specific probable cause for arrest.

4. Provides a copy of the tow record and a Commercial Sexual Exploitation of a Minor Instruction Sheet (form 20.2) to the arrested person.

5. Forwards the supervisor copy of the tow record to Data Center.


6.120-TSK-6-Impounding Vehicles Into the Vehicle Processing Room (VPR)

When Impounding Vehicles into the VPR, the officer:


1. Screens the impound with a sergeant.

2. Requests a tow through Communications.

3. Completes a Washington State Tow/Impound and Inventory Record.

4. Writes the reason for the investigatory hold and the unit responsible for follow-up investigation in the Narrative or Diagram field on the tow record.

  • Does not simply write "See Narrative".

5. Obtains the tow company’s truck number and driver name and writes in the appropriate box on the tow record.

6. Follows the vehicle to the VPR and keeps observation over it during transport.

7. Leaves the OFFICER and DRIVER copies on the windshield of the unlocked vehicle in the VPR and delivers the tow company copy to the tow truck operator.

Officers are responsible for ensuring that the VPR is locked and secure before leaving.

8. Forwards the SUPERVISOR copy to Data Center in an Alert Packet.