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General Policy Information


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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

6.220 – Voluntary Contacts, Terry Stops & Detentions

Effective Date: 12/01/2014




This policy applies to all voluntary contacts and Terry stops conducted by officers. 

1.  Terry Stops are Seizures and Must Be Based on Reasonable Suspicion in Order to be Lawful

A Terry stop must be based on reasonable suspicion and documented using specific articulable facts as described in this policy.

This policy prohibits Terry stops when an officer lacks reasonable suspicion that a subject has been, is, or is about to be engaged in the commission of a crime. 

Searches and seizures by officers are lawful to the extent they meet the requirements of the 4th Amendment and Washington Constitution Art. 1, Section 7.

A Terry stop is a seizure for investigative purposes.  A seizure occurs any time an officer, by means of physical force or show of authority, has in some way restrained the liberty of a citizen.  A seizure may also occur if an officer uses words, actions, or demeanor that would make a reasonable person believe that he or she is not free to go. 


 2.  Officers Must Distinguish Between Voluntary Contacts and Terry Stops


a. Voluntary Contacts Defined

There are two categories of voluntary contacts:

  • Social Contact:   A voluntary, consensual encounter between the police and a subject with the intent of engaging in casual and/or non-investigative conversation. The subject is free to leave and/or decline any of the officer’s requests at any point; it is not a seizure. 
  • Non-Custodial Interview:  A voluntary and consensual investigatory interview that an officer conducts with a subject during which the subject is free to leave and/or decline any of the officer’s requests at any point.  It is not a seizure.

Voluntary contacts are not seizures.  During voluntary contacts, officers must not use any words, actions, demeanor, or other show of authority that would tend to communicate that a person is not free to go.


b. Terry Stops Defined

  • Terry Stop: A brief, minimally intrusive seizure of a subject based upon articulable reasonable suspicion in order to investigate possible criminal activity. The stop can apply to people as well as to vehicles. The subject of a Terry stop is not free to leave.  A Terry stop is a seizure under both the State and Federal constitutions.
  • Reasonable Suspicion: Specific, objective, articulable facts, which, taken together with rational inferences, would create a well-founded suspicion that there is a substantial possibility that a subject has engaged, is engaging or is about to engage in criminal conduct.
  • The reasonableness of the Terry stop is considered in view of the totality of the circumstances, the officer’s training and experience, and what the officer knew before the stop.  Information learned during a stop can lead to additional reasonable suspicion or probable cause that a crime has occurred, but cannot provide the justification for the original stop.

A Terry Stop is a detention short of an arrest. All other detentions must be made pursuant to the policies for arrests without a warrant (6.010-Reporting Arrests and Detentions), warrant arrests, (6.280-Warrant Arrests), traffic stops (16.230-Issuing Tickets and Traffic Contact Reports), or seizure of a person for a psychological evaluation (16.110-Crisis Intervention). 


3. During a Terry Stop, Officers Will Limit the Seizure to a Reasonable Scope

Actions that would indicate to a reasonable person that they are being arrested or indefinitely detained may convert a Terry stop into an arrest requiring probable cause or an arrest warrant.   


Unless justified by the articulable reasons for the original stop, officers must have additional articulable justification for further limiting a person’s freedom during a Terry stop, such as: 

  • Taking a subject’s identification or driver license away from the immediate vicinity
  • Ordering  a motorist to exit a vehicle
  • Putting a pedestrian up against a wall
  • Directing a person to stand or remain standing, or to sit on a patrol car bumper or any other place not of their choosing
  • Directing a person to lie or sit on the ground 
  • Applying handcuffs
  • Transporting any distance away from the scene of the initial stop, including for the purpose of witness identification
  • Placing a subject into a police vehicle
  • Pointing a firearm
  • Frisking for weapons
  • De minimis force

Taking any of these actions does not necessarily convert a Terry stop into an arrest.

4. During a Terry Stop, Officers Will Limit the Seizure to a Reasonable Amount of Time

Subjects may be seized for only that period of time necessary to effect the purpose of the stop.  Any delays in completing the necessary actions must be objectively reasonable.


Officers may not extend a detention solely to await the arrival of a supervisor.

5. During all Terry Stops, Officers Will Take Reasonable Steps to Be Courteous and Professional, Including Identifying Themselves

When reasonable, as early in the contact as safety permits, officers will inform the suspect of the following:

  • The officer’s name
  • The officer’s rank or title
  • The fact that the officer is a Seattle Police Officer
  • The reason for the stop

When releasing a person at the end of a stop, officers will offer an explanation of the circumstances and reasons for the stop.

6. Officers Cannot Require Subjects to Identify Themselves or Answer Questions on a Terry Stop

In general, subjects are not obligated to provide identification upon request and have the right to remain silent. However, there are certain statutory exceptions that do require the subject to provide identification:

  • When the subject is a driver stopped for a traffic infraction investigation (RCW 46.61.021) (failure to provide is a misdemeanor)
  • When the subject is attempting to purchase liquor (RCW 66.20.180)
  • When the subject is carrying a concealed pistol (RCW 9.41.050) (failure to provide CWP is a civil infraction)

Officers may not transport a person to any police facility or jail merely for the purpose of identifying them unless they have probable cause for arrest.


Officers may arrest subjects for false reporting (SMC 12A.16.040) when they provide false written or oral identification.

7. Officers Can Detain Subjects to Identify Them in Order to Issue a Notice of Infraction

Under SMC 12A.02.140, when an officer has probable cause to issue a Notice of Infraction for any City ordinance violation, the officer may detain the subject for a reasonable period of time to identify the subject. The subject does not have to identify themselves or provide identification when detained for a non-traffic infraction.

When officers have probable cause to issue a Notice of Infraction, and the subject refuses to identify themselves, the officer may request that a fingerprinting kit be delivered to the scene and detain the subject for a reasonable amount of time to facilitate the fingerprinting (approximately twenty minutes.)

• Subjects who physically resist being fingerprinted or who attempt to leave while waiting for the fingerprinting kit can be arrested for obstructing (SMC 12A.16.010).

8.  Officers May Conduct a Frisk or Pat-Down of Stopped Subject(s) Only if They Reasonably Suspect That the Subject(s) May Be Armed and Presently Dangerous

The purpose and scope of the frisk or pat-down is to discover weapons or other items which pose a danger to the officer or those nearby.  It is not a generalized search of the entire person.  The decision to conduct a frisk or pat-down is based upon the totality of the circumstances and the reasonable conclusions drawn from the officer’s training and experience.

  • A weapons frisk is a limited search determined by the state and federal constitutions.
  • Officers may not frisk for weapons on a social contact or noncustodial interview.
  • A frisk or pat down may not be used as a pretext to search for incriminating evidence.
  • The fact that a Terry stop occurs in a high-crime area is not by itself sufficient to justify a frisk. 

In addition to the basis for the stop itself, the officer must have reasonable suspicion that the subject may be armed and pose a threat to the officer and/or others.  This may include, but is not limited to:

  • Prior knowledge that the subject carries a weapon
  • Suspicious behavior, such as failure to comply with instructions to keep hands in sight
  • Observations, such as suspicious bulges, consistent with carrying a concealed weapon

The frisk for weapons is strictly limited to what is necessary for the discovery of weapons which might be used to harm the officer or others nearby.  Generally, the frisk must be limited to a pat-down of outer clothing.  Once the officer ascertains that no weapon is present after the frisk or pat-down is completed, the officer’s limited authority to frisk is completed. (i.e. the frisk must stop).

9. Under State Law, Traffic Violations May Not Be Used as a Pretext to Investigate Unrelated Crimes for Which the Officer Lacks Reasonable Suspicion


10.    Officers Must Document All Terry Stops 

Officers must be able to clearly articulate the objective facts they rely upon in determining reasonable suspicion.


Officers must document all Terry stops and have a supervisor approve the documentation before they leave at the end of their shift.  The data will be collected in an electronic form suitable for analysis.  The documentation must contain at least the following elements:

  • Original and subsequent objective facts for the stop or detention
  • The reason (including reasonable suspicion or probable cause) and disposition of the stop (including whether an arrest resulted; whether a frisk or search was conducted and the result of the frisk or search; and whether the subject was moved or transported from the location of the initial stop)
  • Demographic information pertaining to the subject, including perceived race, perceived age, perceived ethnicity and perceived gender; and
  • Delays in completing necessary actions

11. Supervisors Shall Approve the Documentation of Terry Stops

Absent extenuating circumstances, by the end of each shift, supervisors will review their officers’ reports that document the Terry stops made during the shift to determine if they were supported by reasonable suspicion and are consistent with SPD policy, federal and state law. 

If the Terry stops reviewed appear not to be supported by reasonable suspicion or are not consistent with SPD policy, federal and state law, the supervisor, in consultation with the watch commander, shall document and establish a strategy to remediate the situation.  If a supervisor finds the documentation to be inaccurate or insufficient, that supervisor first shall require that the officer supplement the documentation before the end of that shift.  The supervisor will also determine if the incident requires referral to OPA.