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General Policy Information


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Audit, Policy & Research Unit Manual

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Mission Statement and Priorities

Recently Updated

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

8.100 – Using Force  

Effective Date:  1/1/2014



1.  Use-of-Force: When Authorized

An officer shall use only the force reasonable, necessary, and proportionate to effectively bring an incident or person under control, while protecting the lives of the officer or others.

In other words, officers shall only use objectively reasonable force, proportional to the threat or urgency of the situation, when necessary, to achieve a law-enforcement objective.  The force used must comply with federal and state law and Seattle Police Department policies, training, and rules for specific instruments and devices. Once it is safe to do so and the threat is contained, and/or the subject complies with the officer’s orders, the force must stop.

When determining if the force was objectively reasonable, necessary and proportionate, and therefore authorized, the following guidelines will be applied:

Reasonable: The reasonableness of a particular use-of-force is based on the totality of circumstances known by the officer at the time of the use-of-force and weighs the actions of the officer against the rights of the subject, in light of the circumstances surrounding the event. It must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight. Factors to be considered in determining the objective reasonableness of force include, but are not limited to:

•    The seriousness of the crime or suspected offense;


•    The level of threat or resistance presented by the subject;


•    Whether the subject was posing an immediate threat to officers or a danger to the community;


•    The potential for injury to citizens, officers or subjects;


•    The risk or apparent attempt by the subject to escape;


•    The conduct of the subject being confronted (as reasonably perceived by the officer at the time);


•    The time available to an officer to make a decision;


•    The availability of other resources;


•    The training and experience of the officer;


•    The proximity or access of weapons to the subject;


•    Officer versus subject factors such as age, size, relative strength, skill level, injury/exhaustion and number of officers versus subjects; and


•    The environmental factors and/or other exigent circumstances.

The assessment of reasonableness must embody allowance for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second decisions—in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving—about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation.

The reasonableness inquiry in an excessive-force case is an objective one: the question is whether the officers’ actions are objectively reasonable in light of the facts and circumstances confronting them, without regard to their underlying intent or motivation.

Necessary: Officers will use physical force only when no reasonably effective alternative appears to exist, and only then to the degree which is reasonable to effect a lawful purpose.

Proportional: To be proportional, the level of force applied must reflect the totality of circumstances surrounding the immediate situation, including the presence of an imminent danger to officers or others. Officers must rely on training, experience, and assessment of the situation to decide an appropriate level of force to be applied. Reasonable and sound judgment will dictate the force option to be employed. Proportional force does not require officers to use the same type or amount of force as the subject. The more immediate the threat and the more likely that the threat will result in death or serious physical injury, the greater the level of force that may be proportional, objectively reasonable, and necessary to counter it.

2.  Use-of-Force: When Prohibited

An Officer may not use physical force:

  • To punish or retaliate
  • Against individuals who only verbally confront them unless the vocalization impedes a legitimate law enforcement function or contains specific threats to harm the officers or others
  • On handcuffed or otherwise restrained subjects except in exceptional circumstances when the subject’s actions must be immediately stopped to prevent injury, escape, or destruction of property. Use-of-force on restrained subjects shall be closely and critically reviewed.  Officers must articulate both:


    • The exceptional circumstances, and
    • Why no reasonably effective alternative to the use-of-force appeared to exist.
  • To stop a subject from swallowing a substance, such as a plastic bag containing a controlled substance or other evidence.
  • To extract a substance or item from inside the body of a suspect without a warrant.

3.  When Safe under the Totality of the Circumstances and Time and Circumstances Permit, Officers Shall Use De-Escalation Tactics in Order to Reduce the Need for Force

De-escalation tactics and techniques are actions used by officers, when safe and without compromising law enforcement priorities, which seek to minimize the likelihood of the need to use force during an incident.

When safe and feasible under the totality of circumstances, officers shall attempt to slow down or stabilize the situation so that more time, options and resources are available for incident resolution.

When time and circumstances reasonably permit, officers shall consider whether a subject’s lack of compliance is a deliberate attempt to resist or an inability to comply based on factors including, but not limited to:

•    Medical conditions


•    Mental impairment


•    Developmental disability


•    Physical limitation


•    Language barrier


•    Drug interaction


•    Behavioral crisis

An officer’s awareness of these possibilities, when time and circumstances reasonably permit, shall then be balanced against the facts of the incident facing the officer when deciding which tactical options are the most appropriate to bring the situation to a safe resolution.

Mitigating the immediacy of threat gives officers time to utilize extra resources, and increases time available to call more officers or specialty units.

The number of officers on scene may increase the available force options and may increase the ability to reduce the overall force used.

Other examples include:

  • Placing barriers between an uncooperative subject and an officer
  • Containing a threat
  • Moving from a position that exposes officers to potential threats to a safer position
  • Decreasing the exposure to potential threat by using
  • Distance
  • Cover
    • Concealment
  • Communication from a safe position intended to gain the subject’s compliance, using:
    • Verbal persuasion
    • Advisements
    • Warnings
  • Avoidance  of  physical  confrontation,  unless  immediately  necessary  (for  example,  to  protect someone, or stop dangerous behavior)
  • Using verbal techniques, such as Listen and Explain with Equity and Dignity (LEED) Training, to calm an agitated subject and promote rational decision making
  • Calling extra resources to assist or officers to assist:
    • More officers
    • CIT-trained officers
    • Officers equipped with less-lethal tools
    • Any other tactics and approaches that attempt to achieve law enforcement objectives by gaining the compliance of the subject

4.  Officers Should Assess and Modulate the Use-Of-Force as Resistance Decreases

For example, as resistance decreases, the use-of-force may decrease.

5.    Use of Deadly Force

Deadly force may only be used in circumstances where threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others is imminent. A danger is imminent when an objectively reasonable officer would conclude that:

• A suspect is acting or threatening to cause death or serious physical injury to the officer or others, and


• The suspect has the means or instrumentalities to do so, and


• The suspect has the opportunity and ability to use the means or instrumentalities to cause death or serious physical injury.

See also 8.050 – Deadly Force.

6.       Deadly  Force May Be Used  to  Prevent the Escape of  a  Fleeing  Suspect Only  When an  Objectively Reasonable Officer Would Conclude That it Is Necessary and the Officer Has Probable Cause to Believe That:

•    The suspect has committed a felony involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical injury or death; and


•    The escape of the suspect would pose an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer or to another person unless the suspect is apprehended without delay; and


•   The officer has given a verbal warning to the suspect, if time, safety, and  circumstances permit.

7.       Following a Use-of-Force, Officers Shall Render or Request Medical Aid, if Needed or if Requested By Anyone, as Soon as Reasonably Possible

Following a use-of-force, officers will request a medical aid response, if necessary, for subjects and others and will closely monitor subjects taken into custody.

Absent exigent circumstances, prone subjects will be placed on their side in a recovery position. Officers shall not restrain subjects who are in custody and under control in a manner that compromises the subject’s ability to breathe.

8.     Officers Shall Automatically Request Medical Aid in Certain Situations

Any use-of-force, greater than de minimis force on subjects who are reasonably believed or known to be:

•    Pregnant

•    Pre-adolescent children

•    Elderly

•    Physically frail

Any subjects or officers who:

•    Sustain a CEW application

•    Are struck by a beanbag shotgun round

•    Sustain a impact weapon strike to the head

•    Sustain a strike of their head against a hard, fixed object

9.    Consistent  With  the Timelines  in  8.300,  Officers  and  Supervisors  Shall  Ensure That  the Incident  Is Accurately and Properly Reported, Documented, and Investigated

See 8.300 – Use-of-Force Reporting and Investigation.